Have you heard about the Tree Octopus?

Three girls jumped into my car on Friday arvo – we were off to tennis – we are nothing if not hedging our bets for early retirement by producing the next Anna Kornikova. (I have more chance of developing a cleavage than of this happening by the way).

The hot topic on the drive to Coogee was the tree octopus. The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus to be precise. I am an open-minded person. Just because I have never heard of something (despite an extensive reading habit spanning 37 years) does not mean it doesn’t exist. Naturally the girls were very excited and being a good and engaged parent I started asking the key questions so they could feel intelligent.

Where does it live? Canada

And it lives in trees? Yes – in trees.

What colour is it? It changes colour according to its mood.

Oh, so it’s kind of like a cameleon? No, it’s an octopus that lives in a tree. (D-UH)

And it likes to get festive – that makes it change colour. This is accompanied by much giggling. Miss 9 asked what festive means. I reply – that it likes to party. More laughter. Miss9 now feels she’s not part of an inside joke so I say the only thing I can and tell her that it likes to do the Oompah Loompah. This is code in our family for the horizontal mambo.

Mass hysteria. Miss12 and her friend love that I have made a reference to the Oompah Loompah.

Just so you too, are up to date with new things in the world and can talk intelligently at dinner parties in this regard, the Tree Octopus is also:

  • Endangered because the Chinese like to feast on them. They travel well on refrigerated containers to the Far East
  • Revered on Halloween and boxes of candied corn are left in trees for them because they like a challenge
  • Pounced on by swooping eagles who rip them out of trees and make sushi calamari
  • Known to try and migrate to the water in the event of a forest fire.

And they had me all the way till after dinner when they insisted it was documented on that tablet of all knowledge and learning – the Internet. And yes, there it was. And they still had me until I reached this picture.

Fluffy blue tree octupus.....

However, apparently a group of high school students in the States were not put off at all and continued to believe in the mythical and endangered tree octopus – right up to the point when their teacher came clean and fessed up to inventing the whole thing and building a website to show them that the Internet is not King. Or Encyclopedia Britannica for that matter. Go Figure. All you read on the internet is not true. The kids were shocked I tell you. Shocked!

So, sorry to debunk the myth for you – jeez – it would have been a good story to go to Canada and actually see one of these suckers.

I also have to insert this disclaimer because when I trawled the website it turns out that the girls had an imagination of their own and took to embellishing some of their answers. They are endangered because the fashion industry wants to use them for hats. And there was no mention of its festive nature. They clearly just wanted me to say Oompah Loompah. Nice one girls.

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