The weather outside may be frightful but under the sea its quite delightful as Manchester’s favourite octopus begins her Christmas advent calendar challenge.
The resident female sea creature, known as ‘Miranda’, will have to search for the correctly numbered door each day during the festive season at the Sea Life Centre.
Model builders, from sister attraction Legoland Discovery Centre, designed the colourful 25-drawer box made from multi-coloured Lego bricks, each containing a fishy treat or toy.
Joe Lavery, senior aquarist at Sea Life Manchester, told MM: “Stimulating them [Octopuses] is the most important thing about keeping them in captivity.
“We thought an advent calendar would be a brilliant way of entertaining Miranda and also introducing some seasonal spirit into the Centre.
“We have to have scheduled playtime with Miranda every day and we have a series of toys we put in the tank to keep her entertained.”
COUNTDOWN: Miranda the octopus will open a door on each day of the festive period
Miranda began the challenge yesterday and after a few attempts at cracking the first box was finally rewarded with a delicious treat.
Joe explained that keeping her entertained was important for her livelihood.
“One way to think about it would be if you had a dog and never walked or played with it”, he said.
“It would become sad, maybe even depressed. It’s important for us to keep her entertained and happy.”
Miranda is a common octopus, typically found in tropical waters throughout the world, such as the Mediterranean Sea and East Atlantic.
She has three hearts, can change colour to escape being eaten by predators and is protected by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in the UK due to her high intelligence.
And the clever octopus is already racking up fans with visitors, despite it only being the second day of Christmas.
Joe said: “The children really like it and the parents have found it quite amusing.
“We’ve also had a lot of good feedback from the staff.
“The lucky people who turn up at the right time will get to witness it.”
Visitors who wish to see Miranda take on her advent calendar challenge should visit on any Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 1 and 24 December at 2pm.