Sara Feuerstein Photograph


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The Giant Octopus

April 15, 2006   

Considering the zoo is less than 1/2 mile from our apartment (thank you Hamilton DC program for the sweet apartment hookup), it is almost shameful that I had not been until recently. The zoo, like many attractions in DC, is free and open to the public.

I finally got to see the giant octopus!  The octopus feeding provided us with lots of entertainment. First of all, the term "giant octopus" is misleading. Its head (which I later found out was just an organ sack) is the size of a soccer ball. It floated gelatinously in the corner of the tank while a feeder poked a metal stick with a shrimp on the end into the tank. The feeder waved it around to give the semblance of a live shrimp, sometimes poking the octopus with it. The octopus felt it a little with its tentacles and then ballooned itself, engulfing the shrimp and metal stick. I hope octopii are more astute in nature, because it did not really attempt to eat the shrimp until the feeder poked it into its gullet.

I liked the panda too.  Last fall, the residents of Washington began going nuts over the birth of the baby panda. The panda may or may not be the cutest creature in the zoo; we spent "dozens" of minutes at its exhibition. (The State Department's propaganda machine has taught me how to 'accurately' spin numbers- anything past 24 is "dozens", anything past 40 is "scores", depending on the image and effect we are trying to create.)

Anyway, if you are looking to pick up another serious addiction such as "lost", spider solitarie, or facebook, I suggest you check out the National Zoo's panda cam. Seriously, though, watch out; that panda is too cute for its own good.