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Toys Wanted For Scarborough Octopus

Octopus Play

Published by the Yorkshire Coast Radio News Team at 11:40am 24th November 2017. (Updated at 11:44am 24th November 2017)

Sea Life Scarborough is appealing for toys for Barbara the Octopus. 

The centre wants the public's help to fill their octopus' advent calendar and rather than chocolate, they want to give her a toy every day in the run up to Christmas. 

Barbara is a giant Pacific Octopus, the largest species in the world, which can have an arm span of four metres. 

They are thought to be as intelligent as guide dogs and the use of toys and puzzles are paramount to keep Barbara's brain active. 

Octopus Play

Due to her high intelligence level, it’s important Barbara uses her brain whilst finding food. Her eight arms, made almost entirely of muscle, are able to search inside nooks and crannies and prize open lids in search of a tasty morsel whilst she can taste independently with each of her 2,000 suckers.

Todd German, senior aquarist at the aquarium explains, “We will hide food inside the toys for Barbara so she has to work out how to get it. As many children will be getting new toys at this time of year we’re inviting them to have a rummage in their toy box to see if there’s anything they think she might like.

“In the wild, giant Pacific octopuses will tease food such as crabs out of caves and shells, so whilst seeing them with toys might look a little strange, they’re actually using the same hunting instincts they would in the ocean.

We’re especially looking for pre-school toys as won’t be able to give Babs anything with electrics or small parts.

She usually solves puzzles within seconds so it will be interesting to see if anyone manages to bring something in that foxes her.” 

Families are invited to bring their unwanted toys to Sea Life labelled with their name then watch on social media to see Barbara find her food in a different toy each day.


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