Living Coasts seeks toys for playful octopus

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By Paignton_news | Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 15:12

The local attraction is inviting Torbay children to donate their unwanted toys to octopuses.

Living Coasts is home to seven octopuses. Researcher Holly Farmer said: “Octopuses are very clever. They like to play and we like to keep them occupied. We have started giving visitor talks and holding public octopus enrichment sessions because people are so interested in what we are doing.

“Children can donate toys and then see the octopuses playing with them. The toys must be in good condition – we can’t accept anything that is broken - and they must be made of plastic, as any trace of metal could kill an octopus.”

Every child who donates a toy will receive a free gift.

Living Coasts marine biologist Jodie Peers: “Toys that are good for octopuses include building blocks, plastic balls, stacking cups, rattles and teething rings.”

One of the octopuses is Andre. Andre may be a common octopus but he has uncommon skills. He likes playing with puzzles, building blocks and Mr. Potato Head. He also enjoys puzzle feeders, seaweed, mussel strings and buoys.

The octopuses are fed everyday at 4:00pm. Enrichment items are given to them a few times a week.

Zoos use environmental enrichment to encourage natural feeding and foraging behaviours, stimulate mental and physical activity and provoke curiosity using unusual objects and situations. It is science-based and evidence-led.

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