For Release: November 28, 2011
Communications Office (202) 633-3055
Photos by Tamie DeWitt, Smithsonian’s National Zoo. For images of the new octopus, visit the Zoo’s Flickr page.
The newest member of the charismatic cephalopod community at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo may only be the size of a grapefruit now, but he (or she) has some long arms to grow. On Nov. 4, the Zoo’s beloved giant Pacific octopus, Octavius, died at the old age of about 4 years and a feisty new young octopus is now calling the Zoo home. The only problem? The new octopus needs a name. So the Zoo has teamed up with the Washington Post’s KidsPost in search of the most creative, fitting moniker for the new eight-armed ambassador of the oceans.
The new octopus is on exhibit in the Invertebrate Exhibit, which is open daily between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The daily octopus feeding at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. is one of the most popular animal demonstrations at the Zoo.
Kids between the ages of 5 and 15 years of age can e-mail their suggestions for a name to the KidsPost (email@example.com) until 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12. The entrants must put the word “octopus” in the subject line and provide a compelling explanation—no longer than 300 words—for their choice. The Zoo’s invertebrates keepers will pick four finalists based on their creativity and thoughtfulness, and those finalists will be invited to the Zoo to see the octopus pick its own name Saturday, Dec. 17, from a number of objects provided as enrichment. Each name will be placed in a colorful puzzle object and the octopus will select its name based on the object it picks. Octopuses are very intelligent animals and natural explorers and enrichment is an important part of their care at the Zoo.
When selecting a name, entrants should consider the following information:
“Octavius was such a charming animal in part because she wasn’t at all shy,” said Tamie DeWitt, the Invertebrate Exhibit’s biologist. “During her long and healthy life, she inspired such delight in those of us at the Zoo and in visitors to the Invertebrate Exhibit and webcam. We are certain that the new octopus will do the same in its own unique way and are looking forward to finding it just the right name.”
For more details about how to enter a submission and to enter, visit the KidsPost’s website.
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