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Odes

Ode to Octopi

Octopodes are clever. They have so many of the coolest attributes of the animal kingdom. They can change color for nearly flawless camouflage, use tools, construct homes, squeeze through the tiniest of cracks, disappear in an ink cloud, independently control each of their eight suckered arms, and they are smart to boot. There are some octopi that are poisonous and some that are named after vampires. They have eyes that are much better constructed than most animals, and they can survive on land for limited amounts of time. Each tentacle has the ability to regenerate, and it has nerve centers that practically give it its own brain. The hundreds of suckers allow it to latch onto virtually anything it wants to. The beak, which is the only rigid portion of its body has a huge amount of crushing force, so octopuses are extremely efficient predators. Watching an octopus move is watching a peculiar kind of grace. There is the wavelike motion of all arms moving in a kind of breast-stroke or each individual arm undulating in a dancing walk across the sea. There is even the propulsion that jettisons them through the water and even into the air. Eight is just a cool number, and so an animal that embodies this number in a non-very-creepy way makes for a neat creature in the first place. Add on top of that all their attributes and particularly their intelligence and they are among the neatest of animals that I have ever heard of.