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Creatures, Myths & Legends

The strange case of the Pacific tree octopus

By T.K. Randall
April 23, 2020 · Comment icon 9 comments

Does an eight-legged denizen lurk in these woods ? No, it doesn't. Image Credit: PD - Miguel.v
Back in 1998, Lyle Zapato launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign to save what he called the 'tree octopus'.
When it comes to cryptozoological creatures roaming Washington State's Olympic National Forest, what's the first thing that comes to mind ? Bigfoot, perhaps ?

Then what about the Pacific Northwest tree octopus ?

22 years ago, an online campaign was launched to raise awareness of the plight of this allegedly endangered cephalopod, which was assigned the scientific name Octopus Paxarbolis.

The questionable campaign website claimed that the species spent the first part of its life in the water before emerging to make its home among the leaves and branches of the trees.
The site even included a section for people to report sightings of the elusive creature.

The entire thing was, unsurprisingly, a total hoax, however the website and the information on it proved so convincing that large numbers of people actually believed that the octopus was real.

Even today, there are those who remain convinced that the creature really exists.

In many ways the Pacific Northwest tree octopus serves as a reminder of how easy it is for false information to spread online - whether it be political claims or stories of strange creatures.

Given recent events, it's a lesson that is perhaps more important now than ever before.

Source: Only in Your State | Comments (9)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Seti42 4 years ago
I have an old DVD miniseries called 'The Future is Wild'. Each episode postulates life on earth millions of years in the future, with humans gone. There actually is an arboreal octopus mentioned and brought to life with early 2000's CGI. It's a pretty good show, if very dated at this point. It plays much like Walking With Dinosaurs, but the CG creatures are totally speculative. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by Jaded1 4 years ago
I just had a look, on your recommendation, and it's on YouTube 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Carnoferox 4 years ago
Here's the actual website if anyone's interested. https://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/
Comment icon #4 Posted by DieChecker 4 years ago
Of course the tree octopus isnt real. But the arboreal clams? Very real. They hide in the deep lichen and moss of the branches after climbing up as a sluglike youngster.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Nnicolette 4 years ago
Really? Never heard of it.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Essan 4 years ago
However, tree crabs are very much real https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/04/new-crab-species-india-weird-wild-animals/
Comment icon #7 Posted by Essan 4 years ago
https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/red-white-and-blue-crabs-these-tree-climbing-bird-killing-crabs-come-in-multiple-colors-and-no-one-knows-why
Comment icon #8 Posted by oldrover 4 years ago
My run away favourite cryptid. Doesn't matter to me if it was made up more recently than most I genuinely love the idea. Squibbens I think they were called in The Future is Wild. And there was the big cumbersome one who was rumbling along the forest floor too.Great stuff. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by Resume 4 years ago
Is they any good to eat?


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