Hakai Magazine


One Great Shot: Tiny Home for an Octopus

It’s cramped but cozy and comes with a view.

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by Lilian Koh

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octopus in a seashell

One of the sites I frequently dive at in Indonesia’s Lembeh Strait is a prime spot for the coconut octopus. The area has shallow waters and a sandy seafloor, which this diminutive cephalopod—roughly the size of an apple—prefers. The coconut octopus uses coconut shells or clamshells as helmets, as shields against lateral attacks, and as camouflaging tools. The shells also make for excellent shelters. I’ve watched some coconut octopuses use five shells to make their dens.

My dive guide spotted this particular octopus for me. It seemed comfortable with my presence and allowed me to photograph it from various angles.