All the best animals have tentacles

Two legs ok, eight legs better

As I write Germany have just lost to Spain – proof, if any more was needed, that octopuses really are supremely intelligent creatures. ‘Eight-legged mystic’ Paul’s latest prediction has come true.

This week not only has Paul the wonderful psychic octopus been making headlines with his uncannily accurate football predictions, but it’s been discovered that deep-sea squid have enormous penises.Yet more evidence that cephalopods are totally brilliant.

Oktopus Orakel

Paul is actually an English-born octopus, but he’s been doing wonders in bringing publicity to his German aquarium in Oberhausen. His amazing powers have even resulted in death threats from Argentinian football fans. Luckily his colleagues are rallying round in support of Paul’s freedom to express his opinions.

Paul’s keeper Oliver Walenciak commented, “There are always people who want to eat our octopus but he is not shy and we are here to protect him as well. He will survive.” I think’s it’s also worth remembering that geniuses are often misunderstood in their own times.

Paul’s predictions for the German team’s results have been spot on so far. As his keeper has said, “We know that all octopus have nine brains so we know he has exceptional powers.”

Now octopuses are certainly intelligent, but I’m pretty sure Paul doesn’t have nine brains. Still, who needs extra brains when you have eight arms and can wear a coconut as a hat? I hope Paul’s fifteen minutes of football fame convince many more people just how impressive an octopus can be.

Super Sex Squid

I’m not sure whether the average footballer would rather have eight legs or be extremely well-endowed, but, as I found out this week, if you’re a deep-sea squid you don’t have to choose.

A researcher from the Falkland Islands was intrigued when he fished up a male squid whose erect penis was nearly as long as the rest of its body. This doesn’t just make for great headlines (‘Super squid sex organ discovered’) but actually clears up a bit of a mystery about how these squid manage to make babies.

Male squid from shallow water use a specially adapted arm to pass packets of sperm called spermatophores to the female. But this new discovery shows that deep-water squid take a different approach, using their huge penises to inject sperm directly into the female’s body.

Sadly it’s also put paid to a rather interesting idea that deep-water squid might even ‘shoot’ their sperm at females from some distance away. Not even Psychic Paul is quite that impressive.

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