Researcher Captures Mesmerizing Video Of Pet Octopus Changing Color While "Dreaming"

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Heidi, a captive octopus, was seen changing color while sleeping (Credit: BBC/ Video screen capture)

Octopuses in the wild have often been observed changing their skin color and texture to avoid predators or to catch unsuspecting prey. Now, for the first time, a researcher has captured a spell-binding video of a cephalopod called Heidi rapidly changing into a multitude of colors while sleeping.

The footage, part of Octopus: Making Contact, a documentary that premiered on PBS on October 2, 2019, was captured by David Scheel, who has raised Heidi in a home aquarium since she was young. The professor at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage believes that the octopus — whose skin went from pale gray to ghostly white to deep, dark violet, before transitioning into a blotchy, greenish-brown camouflage pattern — was dreaming of catching her next meal.

Heidi the octopus at home in Alaska (Credit: Passion Planet)

"She's asleep; she sees a crab, and her color starts to change a little bit," Scheel says in the video. "Then she turns all dark. Octopuses will do that when they leave the bottom." He adds, "This is a camouflage like she's just subdued a crab, and now she's going to sit there and eat it, and she doesn't want anyone to notice her. If she's dreaming, that's the dream." Scheel's theory about Heidi's delectable dream stems from the fact animals with the ability to camouflage have never been observed changing colors so abruptly while sleeping.

The hour-long documentary, which tracks Scheel's evolving relationship with the octopus, also showcases Heidi's other talents. She enjoys playing with small toys, watching television — particularly The Big Bang Theory — and solving puzzles. The talented cephalopod can also escape from small spaces, use tools, and even pull on a string to activate a buzzer. Like any smart family pet, Heidi recognizes Scheel and his teenage daughter Laura and excitedly rushes to her tank's side in greeting every time either comes close.

Resources: Huffpost.com, Cnet.com, Popularmechanics.com

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657 Comments
  • augy
    augyTuesday, March 24, 2020 at 2:59 pm
    wow that is awsome
    • artsal
      artsalMonday, March 16, 2020 at 8:35 pm
      weird but cool I guess?
      • billcipher2020
        billcipher2020Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 1:03 pm
        that.....is............mesmerising......creepy alittle
        • lpsbrooklyn
          lpsbrooklynTuesday, March 24, 2020 at 12:24 pm
          Lol I agree
        • jvvhbjkbmbhjc
          jvvhbjkbmbhjcMonday, February 3, 2020 at 3:32 pm
          # now you see me now you don't .
          • nurejuve-157305169207
            nurejuve-157305169207Friday, January 31, 2020 at 11:23 am
            that octopus is so CUTE!!!
            • farmer_girl
              farmer_girlSaturday, January 18, 2020 at 1:21 pm
              Noice octopus are soooooooooooooooooooo cool. I didn't know they dreamed
              • progamerwyatt12
                progamerwyatt12Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at 1:00 pm
                wow
                • goodluck
                  goodluckWednesday, December 18, 2019 at 9:55 pm
                  That was sooo cool! They change color while dreaming! OMG!
                  • noahtheballer
                    noahtheballerMonday, December 16, 2019 at 11:40 am
                    octopusus are so intellegent
                    • candyrox
                      candyroxSaturday, December 14, 2019 at 6:32 pm
                      That is so awesome