December 4, 2022


Capturing Magic Moments

Watch: Photographer films being ‘hug’ by giant octopus

3 min read

Squid are interesting and fascinating creatures in more ways than one. While they have some unique physical traits, like three hearts, they also never cease to amaze us with their remarkable intelligence. They have characters, they can be mischievous, and they can even recognize faces. And if your face is friendly, you might even get a hug.

That’s exactly what happened to a group of divers from Campbell River, Canada. While exploring and photographing the underwater world of the Salish Sea, they encountered a rare giant octopus. Not only was the animal willing to pose — it even gave one of them a “hug,” and it was all caught on camera.

High school teacher and photographer Andrea Humphreys took a group of friends on a dive to show them the area’s beauty. But aside from admiring the underwater world, they were also on a mission to find a rare giant Pacific octopus. “People say it’s dark and gloomy here. But when you have lights you see every color of the rainbow,” Andrea told The Guardian. “I’ve done more than 675 dives and I think this is one of the best dives in the world,” she said. But this particular dive turned out to be more special than the nearly 700 she’d done before.

Andrea and her friends discover the animal they’ve been looking for, and Andrea realizes that it’s very rare to see them out in the open like this. Since one of her friends had never seen an octopus before, it was a precious moment — but then it got even better. The curious animal approached him, wanting to get to know him. It gently felt his arm, then crawled on top of him, exploring his mask and face.

“I just took pictures because I was so looking forward to him,” explains Andrea. But then the friendly giant turned his attention to her. “It just crawled onto my camera, crawled onto my lips and hugged me. These giant tentacles were over my face and mask,” she said. “Every time I backed away from it, the octopus just kept coming at me. And it was just so amazing and inspiring.”


Andrea said the octopus stayed around for the next 40 minutes or so. She continued to inspect her scuba gear and camera. It’s important to note that you can tell if an octopus is angry or scared because it changes color to gray. However, this one retained its red color throughout the encounter and never showed any signs of aggression.

After sharing her video on social media, it quickly became very popular. Andrea believes the video went viral because it gives people a glimpse of “a fleetingly intimate and unlikely connection with a creature that often seems alien.” How often do you see an octopus “hug” a photographer? But while octopuses can be smart, curious, and super sweet, please don’t try to “hug” them like that yourself. Give them their space and show them respect, and who knows, they might surprise you with an act of affection.

[via The Guardian]

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