Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children
Welcome to the eighth anniversary of my blog!!!
Well, from time to time, on my blog posts, l like to tell you about the sea creatures that live around my lighthouse home and this week l would like to tell you about octopuses.
l have mentioned them before, but they are such fascinating creatures, that l thought that they deserved to have a post all to themselves.
Last week, l was telling you about lovely things that you can put in your bath, but you probably wouldn’t want an octopus in your bath; unless it is a toy one!
First of all, l have to mention the title at the top of the post. For all of your grammar fiends, yes, ‘octopuses’ is the plural of octopus and yes; you can also say ‘octopi’ (which is an older word).
Of course, you already know that ‘oct’ relates to the word eight. Octopuses have eight arms. These trail out behind them as they swim.
And how do they propel themselves through the water? Well, they expel a jet of water which thrusts them forward.
Some scientists say that you could call two of the limbs legs because they use them to pull themselves along the sea floor or coral reef and the other six limbs arms because they use these to gather food. Like Bill and Bob, they are always on the look out for food!
Octopuses often take their prey back to their lair where they can eat it in peace. But there are also other creatures living with them that take the opportunity to scavenge the leftovers of what the octopus has been hunting. This will be things like fish, shellfish, crabs and prawns.
The inside surface of the octopus’ eight limbs are covered with round suckers which help it attach itself to surfaces or handle objects. These suckers also enable the octopus to taste what it touches.
The octopus has a very soft body which it can squeeze into small openings and crevices. lt is amazing how an octopus can squash itself up into small places that you would not imagine it could fit into.
This is because an octopus doesn’t have a skeleton – the water it lives in supports its body.
Another fascinating thing about an octopus is how quickly it can change the colour of its skin in a sort of shivering motion. There are special cells in its skin that can do this. There are two reasons to do this.
An octopus can camouflage itself to hide from unsuspecting prey as it swims by and it can also communicate to other octopuses if it wants to warn them off.
An octopus has two large eyes and a beak. The mouth is in the centre point where all the limbs meet. lt can push food into this mouth with its arms.
An octopus has three hearts which are needed to pump around its thick blood; which is a bluish colour. This blood is very different from mammals’ blood which is red. The blue blood enables the octopus to survive in cold water with low levels of oxygen.
There are about 300 species of octopus around the world but l certainly don’t have that many around my lighthouse. They are found around coral reefs and on the seabed but also in open water too.
Their ancestors have been around for 300 million years.
Octopuses defend themselves by squirting out a dark liquid that is usually referred to as ink. The colour is made by a chemical called melanin.
They can dart away from danger quickly and hide in small, deep hiding places to get away from anything hunting them.
All octopuses are venomous but only one is known to be deadly to humans and that is the blue-ringed octopus – so-called because it has distinctive blue and black rings on its body. They live along reefs and in tide pools in the Pacific and lndian Oceans between Australia and Japan.
The largest octopuses can grow up to 4.3m or 14 feet – the smallest are about 2.5cm or 1 inch.
Most of them grow quickly but don’t have long lives. They are born from eggs that the mother cares for in a den. There may be many thousands of eggs tucked away safely in her den.
When the young hatch, they are very tiny.
Octopuses have extremely good sight, but what fascinates scientists most about them is that they are very intelligent. Their large brain is in their head and they have a complex nervous system which is partly organized in their body – in other words not completely organized in their brain; like ours is.
They also have a great sense of touch.
They don’t learn anything from their parents like mammals and birds. We know this because after they hatch, they are left to look after themselves.
Experiments have been carried out whereby scientists try to find out how intelligent octopuses are and what kind of tasks they can tackle.
They have found out that octopuses can do things like unscrew the lid of a jar to get to the food inside.
Octopuses can distinguish between different shapes and patterns and they even like to play with toys.
Scientists have found out that octopuses have long-term memory as well as short-term memory – that means they can remember things for a long time.
Stories are told about how they can even get onto fishing boats and open the storage boxes containing their catch of crabs!
But the greatest octopus story has to be about Paul the Octopus.
He was a common octopus (that was his species) who was used to predict the results of football matches.
Paul was hatched from and egg at the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth on the south coast of England and was transferred to another sea life centre in Oberhausen in Germany.
He was talent-spotted as a young octopus when the staff at the sea life centre noted something different about him. They said that he had a very intelligent look in his eye!
When he was moved to Germany, the staff there decided to try some experiments to test out his intelligence.
His fortune-telling talents were first used during the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament.
But he became world famous when he started making accurate predictions during the 2010 World Cup.
He was called an animal oracle. He even had his own agent!
Two clear, plastic boxes of food were given to Paul. They were identical in every way except for the fact that they had different team flags of the competing teams of an upcoming match.
Whichever box Paul opened first was deemed to represent the future winner.
Paul was thought to not be able to distinguish any colours at all because his species of octopus is colour-blind. So how did he choose the winners?
He correctly predicted 12 results out of the 14 he was asked to predict.
This is a better outcome than a statistician would expect could be achieved by chance alone.
Some animals at the Chemnitz Zoo were set up to make predictions too to see if they could match Paul’s talents – but most had no success in comparison. Mani the parakeet had the best results.
Later, Rabio the Octopus correctly predicted the results of all Japan’s group stage games at the 2018 FlFA World Cup.
So what was going on?
What do you think?
Paul lived for two and a half years which was the natural life span for his species of octopus.
There is now a memorial to Paul at the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen.
lf you like my blog, please support it by telling all your friends and followers about it.
And see you again next Fun Friday!
Love and kisses
Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Week
Bob: Between a shark and an octopus – who would win in a gun fight?
Bill: Mmmm! l’m not sure.
Bob: An octopus, of course, because he is so well-armed!
Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.
Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com
THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESK
So Operation Muddy Hole was completed this week.
Auntie Alice, Captain Jack, Farmer Jenkins and I set about planting some trees to extend the woodland at the bottom of the farm.
The children were really helpful too.
We planted a line of hawthorn bushes behind the new fence Farmer Jenkins had put up to section off the once muddy corner of the field.
We interspersed five field maples with three hornbeams amongst them. They will form a new hedge for the cows to shelter behind.
We planted twelve oak trees in the land we had reclaimed and put square wire cages around them made of four poles with chicken wire wrapped around them.
Then we put a layer of compost around the trees inside the cage.
The cages should stop deer and rabbits from eating the trees.
We put tree guards on the other trees so that they would be protected too. These covers will have to be removed when the trees are bigger.
The layer of compost should stop grass growing around the saplings and choking them. This is layer is called mulching. The tall grass that will grow around them will shelter them from winds and heat.
We mulched all the trees we planted. It was a bit of a task wheeling the compost through the woods all the way from the garden but if you don’t look after young trees properly you will have just wasted your time planting them.
We brought some cans of water along too just to give the trees a watering as we settled them in.
We don’t think they will need watering again as the ground seems to be such a damp patch. But we will keep an eye on them if there is a really bad drought this summer.
So we have extended the woodland by about three quarters of an acre – or just under.
One acre is equal to sixteen tennis courts.
The roots of the new trees will eventually come in contact with the roots of the ancient woodland and this will be very important to them. They will then truly become a part of the wood.
Emily said that in the spring they could plant some wild flower seed in the ground between the cages.
Auntie Alice said it would be a good idea because while the oak trees were still young there would be plenty of sunshine coming into the area to help the flowers grow.
In years to come, the trees will overshadow the ground and not much will grow under them, but for now there would be plenty of light for wild flowers like cow parsley and scabious to grow.
All in all, we were very proud of ourselves, and the Rocky Bay Gazette even published a special feature about Operation Muddy Hole.
TO ADVERTISE ON THIS BLOG
Draw a column of boxes 8 across and 9 down
Put the 8 letter answers to these clues across inside the boxes
The first letters of the answers will spell out a place where you might find an octopus
- to finish
- a pretty thing to put on display on a shelf
- to make fun of
- to put together
- a jumping game played in the school playground
- comes back to your mind
- a large grey animal with a trunk
- resting on water
lt’s the Weekend!
HOW TO MAKE CHlLD’S KNlTTED HlP BAG
Do you ever pop down to the shops on your bicycle and need a little bag to keep your front door key in and a few coins for sweets?
This bag can be slung over your neck and shoulder and then tied around your waist so that it stays against your body as you cycle, leaving your hands free.
It will fit under a jacket on a rainy day.
Make sure that everything is sewn together tightly; you can’t have anything dropping off when you cross the road.
This bag is big enough to put an inhaler in, but you will need to make it a bit longer if you need to carry an EpiPen with you.
BAG (KNIT TWO)
Using 4mm knitting needles and rainbow dk yarn cast on 30 stitches
Knit 4 rows of garter stitch
Knit 2 rows of stocking stitch
Slip 1 (knit 1, purl 1) to last stitch knit 1
Repeat last row 3 times
Slip 1 (purl 1, knit 1) to last stitch purl 1
Repeat last row 3 times
Repeat last 8 rows twice
Knit 12 rows of stocking stitch
Knit 6 rows of garter stitch
TO MAKE UP
- Sew the bottom seam wrong sides together and side seams of the bag right sides together using over-sew stitching.
- Turn the bag right side out.
- Crochet 100 chains into a length of white yarn and thread this cord through the bottom channel (between the rows of garter stitch) at the top of the bag and knot the ends together.
- Put a decorative bead on the end of the cord and make sure it is very securely attached.
- This cord will allow you to open and close the bag.
You will need to knit the other straps to fit your body – you could make a thinner cord by crocheting chains into a two lengths of yarn at the same time to make the cords double thick – instead of knitting them.
(KNIT ONE TO GO ACROSS CHEST OVER ONE SHOULDER AND ACROSS BACK – TO BE ATTACHED TO TOP CORNERS OF BAG)
(KNIT TWO TO BE TIED AROUND WAIST WITH A KNOT AND A BOW AND ATTACHED TO BOTTOM CORNERS OF BAG – one strap will be longer than the other so that the bag can sit on the front of the hip and the bow can sit to the front of the other)
Using 4mm knitting needles and dk yarn cast on 5 stitches
Knit as many rows of garter stitch as you need to make the strap as long as you need it – don’t count the rows, just measure your work
Remember to slip the first stitch of every row to keep the edges neat
You will make the straps long enough to fit your body and you will sew them on the bag in a way that will make it easiest for you to wear according to whether you are right or left-handed.
Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.
It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.
Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.
©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015
Quick Quiz Answers
- to finish – complete
- a pretty thing to put on display on a shelf – ornament
- to make fun of – ridicule
- to put together – assemble
- a jumping game played in the school playground – leap frog
- comes back to your mind – remember
- a large grey animal with a trunk – elephant
- outside – external
- resting on water – floating
Answer = coral reef