The cheekiest eight-legged creature in Manchester is being given dedicated a human playmate after keepers discovered she liked him so much.
The one-year-old octopus, Miranda – named after slapstick comic Miranda Hart – has been given an hour’s playtime every day with her keeper.
Joe Lavery, senior aquarist at Sea Life in the Trafford Centre, discovered that Miranda loves the interaction and attention during their recreational sessions in the pool.
Whenever Joe is in the water, she loves to clasp her tentacles on his fingers and climb up his arm.
Although she could deliver a painful bite from her sharp, beak-like gnashers at any time, Joe said: “She enjoys our games so much I have absolutely no fear she ever will.”
EIGHT-LEGGED LOVE: Miranda the octopus
Since being tasked with joking around with the jolly cephalopod, 23-year-old marine biology graduate Joe has patiently taught her how to unscrew jam jars to get to her food, and is now working on making an underwater maze to keep her amused.
Keepers at the aquarium had an inkling that Miranda might be wanting more playtime after she changed colour.
“Although octopuses are renowned for hiding,” said Joe. “Miranda loves attention and enjoys putting on a show. As a species they wear their emotions on the outside too.”
CHEEKY CEPHALOPOD: Miranda likes the attention
Like a mood ring, this cheeky cephalopod changes colour to reflect her disposition. A good rule of thumb is the darker the skin pattern, the happier the octopus. Miranda’s apparently permanent dark tone was all it took to persuade Joe’s colleagues that some more playtime should be on the cards.
The mischievous Miranda doesn’t always play nicely, though, revealed Joe.
“She has tube-like siphons on the side of her head which are used to pass water over her gills and occasionally for propulsion,” he said.
“She has discovered she can use them when partly out of the water to douse me with a high-speed jet of water. I’ve had quite a few soakings.”