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The giant Pacific octopus inhabits shallow waters in many areas of the coast of the North Pacific from Southern California to Alaska and westward to Japan. It can be found from tide pools to depths of about 2,500 feet. It is the largest species of octopus, with the average adult weighing 50 to 90 lbs. and measuring about 16 feet from the top of the body to the tip of its arms. It reaches this size in less than four years.
The animal is very strong, incredibly flexible and can squeeze through very small crevices and holes in the reef. This allows it to hide from its predators (seals, sea otters, and large fish), while being able to reach its own prey (invertebrates and small fish). The hardest part of the octopuses’ body is its parrot-like beak which is made of keratin, the same substance that forms our fingernails. It uses its beak, located at its mouth, to tear its prey into pieces small enough to ingest.