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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660 Comments
  • swissalakai
    swissalakaiFriday, September 25, 2020 at 2:33 pm
    Really cool
    • basketball_boo
      basketball_booTuesday, September 22, 2020 at 12:19 pm
      soo cool
      • cloverscar21
        cloverscar21Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 7:25 pm
        thats actually pretty cool
        • 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
              • lpsbrooklyn11
                lpsbrooklyn11Tuesday, 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!!!
                  • basketball_boo
                    basketball_booSaturday, 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