It’s a bit of a shock to see an octopus
When a reporter phoned me to say he had a picture of what looked an octopus, found by a family in the sea at Herne Bay, I was more than a little bit surprised, as it is an unusual sighting.
The curled or lesser octopus is found around the British coastline and is not a rarity – what is unusual is coming across one, especially in Kent.
The records for the south coast of England usually come from dead ones washed up on the shoreline or the occasional one found by fishermen in lobster or crab pots.
The curled octopus has a single row of suckers on each of the eight tentacles and is the species most likely to occur in the south. The larger species is the common octopus and tends to be found more in the west and north of the British Isles.
Octopus have the capacity for learning and are intelligent creatures. They usually feed on crabs and lobsters, which they crush with their hard beak.
Another feature of the species is the ability of the octopus to change colour.
In this instance, the family took a picture and then gently ushered it back out into the deeper waters, as the tide was coming in. What an experience for them.
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, telephone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk