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National Zoo Gets New Octopus

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By Rebecca Sheir

Tai Shan the panda might be back in China, but visitors to the National Zoo can see a new attraction: a Giant Pacific Octopus.

Alan Peters, the Zoo's Curator of Invertebrates, says most invertebrates don't get enough respect.

"They have the reputation of being animals that are odd or weird or scary," he says.

That's why he hopes the Giant Pacific Octopus will attract more fans to the invertebrate camp.

"It's an animal that people recognize and get interested in, because it's very interactive," he says. "It's very aware of what's going on around it."

Peters says the 2-and-a-half-year-old creature isn't very big now.

"When it's first-born it's the size of a grain of rice, and in the first couple years it'll go three, four, five pounds," he says.

But as an adult the Giant Pacific Octopus can reach 50 to 70 pounds, and finally live up to its name.

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