Weymouth SEA LIFE creates fishy advent calendar for Tia the octopus

Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park’s common octopus Tia is full of ‘fishmas’ spirit this December, thanks to her thoughtful keepers who have created Tia her own advent calendar.

 Like all octopuses, the star of Weymouth SEA LIFE’s Shipwreck Zone is extremely intelligent and enjoys constant stimulation and regular enrichment activities. Considerate curators at the park decided Tia may enjoy a change to her feeding routine, and decided to introduce the festive challenge.

Fiona Smith, curator at Weymouth SEA LIFE, explains: “Tia’s advent calendar is actually made from an old multi-drawer tool box, which seems to work really well for this enrichment activity. Tia is fed around three times a week, so each time we put her favorite fishy bits in the appropriate box for that day, and she has to find the right drawer to gain her reward. As she isn’t fed every day we do let her open a couple of doors each time.”

Playful Tia, who is a firm favorite with staff and visitors alike, impressed guests earlier this year when she managed to rescue her dinner from inside a clay Halloween pumpkin, breaking it open in the process.

Fiona added: “We regularly open up the top of her tank just to play with her. She likes to wrap her tentacles around our arms and to squirt us with water. She’s really gentle and loves the interaction.

“Octopuses are considered to be so intelligent and interactive that they are legally considered vertebrates in order to protect them from scientific research and cruel treatment by vivisectionists. While invertebrates are generally considered as less intelligent creatures, octopuses such as Tia certainly break this mould. There are lots of cases of octopuses doing amazing things like solving puzzles. Tia has a number of toys, such as a plastic boat and plastic bottles and jars, which she can unscrew on her own and get treats out of.It is believed that creatures just like Tia areshowing intelligence which could rival that of our very closest relative- the chimpanzee.”

Father Christmas will be residing in Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park until Saturday December 23, and will be giving each child he meets a special SEA LIFE gift. Children can also continue the festivities in the Christmas Craft Zone, where they can colour in their own Christmas tree decorations or write their letter to Father Christmas.

Advanced booking is highly advised, to book tickets please visit: www.visitsealife.com/weymouth/tickets/?packageID=8187