“The terror of the deep”

Nick Glunt

Octopuses. Most people don’t really think about them, but they’re literally one of the most terrifying animals on the face of the planet.

They possess problem-solving ability and have no bones, meaning they can bend their bodies and stretch themselves through tight areas. They’ve got suction cup-like tentacles and a beak for eating. They can squirt ink to defend themselves and can change color to blend in with their environment. They can sever their own limbs and grow them back. And to top it all off, they have three hearts and are venomous.

Now I ask you: Which of these attributes does not sound like a horror movie monster?

I recognize that my fear of octopuses is a little, shall we say, unconventional. Hell, I’d even call it a phobia if it were irrational. But it’s completely rational.

Seriously. They’ve been known to escape aquariums to get into other ones. They can open jars to get food. Basically, they can problem solve. Who the hell shouldn’t be afraid of them?

So you’re either in my boat by now or reading this like I’m a crazy person. Let me ask you a question. Are you afraid of sharks? Come on. After “Jaws,” it became a regular fear. Tons of people are afraid of sharks.

Now listen to this little story. In a YouTube video I watched a while back, workers at an aquarium were questioning why they kept finding dead sharks in the tank. One night, they watched as an octopus wrapped its tentacles around the creature’s mouth and dug its beak into the fish’s cartilage skin. The shark struggled, but ultimately failed to escape.

I’ve watched other YouTube videos that depict octopuses pulling seashells onto themselves to hide, escaping from small holes in plastic by stretching their bodies and even attacking a swimmer in Australia. They’re intelligent, stealthy beasts. It’s horrifying.

Ancient sailors told legends of the fearsome Kraken for good reason (even though recent discoveries have pointed to the Kraken being inspired by the colossal squid, which is only scary because of how big it is). If the Kraken had all the abilities of an octopus, there was no reason not to fear it, even if it wasn’t real.

But octopuses are real. And it’s time we recognized this terror of the deep for what it is: a monster.

Nick Glunt is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].