The competition for the world’s cutest cephalopod really ramped up this week.
We watched in awe as answam off the coast of California, but now we have to give strong consideration to a wee octopus from Hawaii.
The US Department of the Interior tweeted a photo this week of a minuscule baby octopus discovered at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park in Hawaii along with the message, “Who knew an octopus could be so cute!”
Marine biologists at the Hawaiian park discovered the little cephalopod back in August on a piece of floating plastic debris. The team safely released the tiny tyke back into the ocean.
The dive team, which was monitoring the coral reef in the area, found a second baby octopus on another piece of plastic debris. This one was itsy-bitsy and equally cute, but also more obviously deadly. It was caught in the act of attacking and killing a baby crab.
“Maybe they aren’t so cute?” the park said in a Facebook post.
The babies were most likely either day or night octopuses, two types commonly found in Hawaiian waters. Apparently, they like to decorate their homesteads with their conquests. “Their dens are often recognized by the pile of broken crab and snail shells (remnants of past meals) found just outside the entrance,” the Waikiki Aquarium says.
We can’t blame the baby for being hungry and choosing to snack on a convenient crab. It’s just that it looks like a scene from a sci-fi horror movie.
While the hungry baby octopus is a good reminder that nature can be simultaneously charming and cutthroat, that it was found floating on plastic also highlights how plastic pollution is a prevalent problem in ocean waters.