It's extremely rare- octopus found in Kentucky's rivers

Anita Durairaj

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You really wouldn't expect to find an octopus in Kentucky. After all, octopus tend to be creatures of the deep and are found in various regions of the ocean such as in coral reefs and sea beds. They are saltwater creatures.

Octopuses do not make freshwater their home. There are no known species of freshwater octopus. Scientists wonder if the existence of freshwater octopuses is real or just a myth.

However, there are "freshwater" octopus you can find in rivers of North America although it is very rare.

The freshwater octopus is a medium-sized cephalopod that is about 2-3 feet long. There have been a few locations where they have been sighted. In Kentucky, it is the Licking River. The octopus in Kentucky was found way back in 1959. It was a gray octopus that was found to be moving onto the bank of the Licking River near Covington.

An octopus was also found on the Ohio River at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.

How did these octopuses survive in the river in freshwater when they require salinity? Was it a pet octopus that was released from the aquarium into the nearby river? There are many theories but none have been proven.

What scientists can confirm is that octopuses cannot cope with the change in osmotic pressure when it comes to freshwater. They would have to change their physiology completely to survive freshwater and this seems impossible.

As for the octopus found in Kentucky in 1959, it seems to be the only one found so far. Maybe it was just a fluke observation.

Have you seen any octopuses in either the Licking River or the Ohio River?

Sources: Cryptopia, Octopus - Wikipedia, Octolab, https://itsmth.fandom.com/wiki/Freshwater_Octopus

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