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(57,906 posts)
Sat Apr 13, 2024, 04:22 PM Apr 13

They got their son a pet octopus. Weeks later, there were 50 more. [View all]

Last edited Sat Apr 13, 2024, 07:30 PM - Edit history (1)

They got their son a pet octopus. Weeks later, there were 50 more.

By María Luisa Paúl
April 13, 2024 at 10:16 a.m. EDT


Cameron Clifford had finally given in to his son’s pleas and bought him a pet octopus. After several weeks, he was getting the hang of caring for their new tentacled pet — then he discovered what looked liked dozens of “puffed-up, clear Tic Tacs” inside its den. ... Terrance was not a male octopus, as they had first thought. Her new tank in Cal Clifford’s bedroom was filled with dozens of eggs.

But that was only the first twist in a saga playing out in Edmond, Okla., that captivated thousands of people on social media. The biggest surprise, Clifford said, actually came one night in February, when he picked up one of the eggs — which he had long assumed weren’t fertilized — and accidentally popped it. What he thought was a “blob of some strange liquid” came out and fell back into the tank. ... Seconds later, that blob started swimming. It was a tiny version of Terrance.

“I just screamed my wife’s name,” Clifford, 36, told The Washington Post. “That started the whole stress of it because now we felt this immense responsibility of taking care of these babies.” ... Over the next week, the Cliffords tried to catch the hatchlings. Suddenly, the family was tending to 50 baby California two-spot octopuses — also known as bimacs.

The mission to keep them alive has been complex, time-consuming and expensive. Clifford estimates that the special tanks and other equipment they’ve purchased have cost his family about as much as a used car. ... But it’s also been joyful, said Clifford, a dentist whose TikTok videos chronicling the ups and downs of caring for octopuses have garnered millions of viewers, brought in support from across the country and been called “nothing short of remarkable” by one expert.


Terrance relaxes in her den two months after her eggs began hatching in February. (Courtesy of Cameron Clifford)


By María Luisa Paúl
María Luisa Paúl is a reporter on The Washington Post's Morning Mix team. She joined The Post as an intern on the General Assignment desk and has previously reported at the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald. Twitter https://twitter.com/marialuisapaulr
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