Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Giant Pacific Octopus

Enteroctopus dofleini

The Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest species of octopus. On average, GPOs reach 16 feet in length and weigh 110 pounds. Each of its 8 arms may measure over 6 feet!

Range & Habitat

Giant Pacific Octopuses range throughout the temperate waters of the Pacific Ocean from southern California to Alaska, and west to the Aleutian Islands and Japan. The species' is found in areas of rocky reefs with sand-shell substrate where they inhabit dens. 

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Population trend: Unknown
Listed as Least concern due to their wide geographic range. The species is heavily harvested but yet is believed that females lay such a number of eggs that the population is consistently balanced. It is recommended that further research be conducted to determine the species' true population size, trends, and other anthropogenic threats.


In the Wild: shrimp, clams, lobsters, sharks, birds, crabs, smaller octopuses, scallops, abalones, moon snails, rockfish, flatfish, sculpins.

In Human Care: smelt, herring, clams, scallops, shrimp, mussels.

Life Span

In the Wild: 3-5 years; In Human Care: 3-5 years.

Fun Facts about the Giant Pacific Octopus

  • The only part of an octopus (or any cephalopod) that is not soft and pliable is its beak, a hard structure similar to a parrot’s beak that serves as its mouth.
  • A 50-pound octopus can squeeze through a hole only 2 inches in diameter. If the beak fits, it can get through.
  • Octopuses are about 90% muscle.
  • Octopuses frequently lose an arm to predators, but it can grow back.


Aquarium of the Bay. (n.d.). Giant pacific octopus. Retrieved from

ARKive. (n.d.). North pacific giant octopus (enteroctopus dofleini). Retrieved from

Georgia Aquarium. (n.d.). Giant pacific octopus. Retrieved from

Hartis, C. (2011). Enteroctopus dofleini. Retrieved from

Lamon, P. (2011, September 1). Fun animal facts: giant pacific octopus. Retrieved from

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. (2012, August 17). Understanding the elusive giant pacific octopus. Retrieved from

Smithsonian National Zoological Park. (n.d.). Giant pacific octopus. Retrieved from

Allcock, L., Taite, M. & Allen, G. 2018. Enteroctopus dofleini. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: Enteroctopus dofleini ( Downloaded on 22 July 2021

Updated June 13, 2023
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