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Tree Octopus

The information about Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, an Internet hoax is presented in this article. Let us get into the details of information about tree octopus presented by Lyle Zapato.
An Internet hoax created by Lyle Zapato in 1998, the tree octopus is a fictitious creature. The name 'Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus' was given to this creature. It was included in the molluscan class of Cephalopoda; scientific name assigned to the tree octopus was Octopus paxarbolis. The false information about this fictitious creature was presented in such a manner that many of the readers assumed it to be true. The purported images of tree octopus added to the credibility of information presented by Lyle Zapato.

Tree Octopus Facts
The information was presented through facts related to habitat, lifestyle, habits and other features. The careful and smart way of presenting fake information about a fictitious creature made the whole affair quite interesting for the readers and of course, not so interesting for those who were foxed. Let us have a look at the facts and characteristics that were assigned to this animal.
  • Tree octopus is said to inhabit temperate forest regions in the North America. Tree octopus habitat is eastern side of mountain range called the Olympic. This region is next to/adjacent to the Hood canal.
  • Average size reached at maturity is 30-33 cm. This length is measured from mantle-tip to arm-tip.
  • It is an amphibian animal, however, only the initial phase of life is spent in an aquatic environment.
  • The rainforest environment is humid and helps maintain moisture levels in the body of tree octopus. This animal is therefore able to lead an amphibian life. However it prefers to live in an aquatic environment.
  • The tree octopus has largest brain-to-body ratio amongst all the other mollusks. This feature makes it intelligent and inquisitive in nature.
  • Arms of this octopus are covered with sensitive suckers. It helps the octopus in locomotion. The arms being referred to as tentacles, the movement/locomotion is also called tentaculation.
  • Arms of octopus are not only used for locomotion, but also to prey on smaller vertebrates and insects. Tree octopus feeds on a varied diet including birds and animals.
  • Eyesight of this octopus is comparable to that of human beings. This developed eyesight is used in finding prey and also for locomotion.
  • The ability to change skin color is one of the specialties of this creature. The colors viz., red and white are used to display the emotions of anger and fear respectively. Mottled brown color is used by these creatures in blending with their surroundings.
  • Reproduction cycle of this octopus is marked by an important event of moving out of the Olympic National Forest and migrating towards Hood canal. The congregation of tree octopuses at Hood canal is for the purpose of mating.
  • Male octopus deposits sperms before returning to the Olympic National Forest. The female octopus then attaches egg-clusters in aquatic lairs.
  • The female octopus guards eggs until they hatch; it has been observed that the female doesn't have food until hatching process is completed.
  • The young tree octopus spends first month of its life, floating in the waters of Hood canal.
  • This is an endangered species. Main reason cited for the tree octopus becoming endangered are suburban encroachment and logging. These activities result into the decimation of octopus habitat.
  • Predators of tree octopus include Bald Eagles and Sasquatch.
The tree octopus hoax which was released in 1998 deceived many of the Internet users. The website created by Lyle Zapato included names of reliable sources in an attempt to make this fictitious animal seem more credible. Here is a reminder that tree octopus information presented in the article is fake.
By Shashank Nakate
Last Updated: 9/23/2011
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