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Researchers Use Rubik's Cubes to Reduce Stress in Octopuses.

Anxious Octopuses Pick Up Objects to Reduce Stress

Not only do your pets have a dominant hand, but researchers think that octopuses do too! In a month-long observational project, UK scientists are testing their theory that intelligent creatures have a dominant arm (in this case, tentacle) used to feed and investigate. Researchers will record which tentacle the Octopuses use to pick up objects, hoping to reduce stress levels in captivity. Huh – what does picking up things have to do with stress levels, you ask? Claire Little, a marine life expert at the Sea Life Center in the UK explains:

We hope the study will help the overall well-being of octopuses. They are very susceptible to stress so if they do have a favorite side to be fed on, it could reduce risk to them.

The fun part is that visitors to the Center will get to participate in the study by jotting down on a diagram which arm was used to pick up objects such as balls and Lego bricks, while staff will continue the observation at feeding time and overnight. Who knew that cleaning up could be therapeutic? Now if I could just get North to pick up his toys . . .


Join The Conversation
Spectra Spectra 9 years
Makes sense to me. I've heard that dogs chew to relieve stress...maybe the tensing and relaxing of muscles does something to help them deal with stress. Sort of like octopus yoga or something :)
RadishSalad RadishSalad 9 years
I cannot wait to hear the outcome of this experiment. I think it's so cute. I saw a picture of an octopus with his favorite toy: Mr. Potato head once. Soo cute.
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