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Family gets octopus to raise as a pet — then it had babies

An Oklahoma family has come to grips with its new reality after acquiring an octopus to raise as a pet, only for her to stunningly produce a small army of hatchlings.

“In case it wasn’t already obvious, octopus are not common pets,” octodad Cameron Clifford, of Oklahoma City, posted to TikTok last week. “In fact, octopus are not very common in Oklahoma in any capacity.”

That is, until now — Clifford got an adult female California two-spot octopus for his older son late last year. Terrance laid some 50 eggs in December that recently started hatching. The Clifford family has been documenting the unusual oct-currence on its TikTok @doctoktopus page.

“Surprising my son with an aquarium so he can fulfill a lifelong dream of owning a pet octopus,” began a March post that captivated TikTok with 3.6 million views.

The octopus arrived in a clear plastic bag of water packed with styrofoam in a brown cardboard box. The family showed the challenges of setting up a home for Terrance but reveled in her quickly growing accustomed to her new tank.

Terrance, an adult female California two-spot octopus, laid a clutch of eggs in December. Doctoktopus TikTok

“Even with serious planning, consulting, and forethought, we were still faced with surprises when we received Terrance (including her size!),” Clifford wrote last month. “We don’t take this responsibility lightly, they are extremely complex and intelligent creatures. We love you Terry.”

Two months after welcoming Terrance, she laid a clutch of eggs, signaling the end of her life was near.

Octopus bimaculoides, or “bimac” for short, has a natural lifespan of 12 to 18 months. After a female lays her eggs, she stops eating as she watches over her offspring. She eventually wastes away and dies.

In a March 26 update, the Cliffords say they were told “to expect her to die within four to eight weeks.”

Instead, she has thrived — and so has her progeny — much to everyone’s surprise.

Pearl, Melinda, Jay-Sea, Sea-yonceeé, Rocket Larry and others are now part of the family. Doctoktopus TikTok

“We had always stayed in constant contact with our bimac experts, one of which had cared for dozens of bimacs through the years, and none of them had ever laid fertile eggs,” the family explained in a clip early last week.

“Even educational and research facilities struggle with hatching them in captivity but this occurred 3 feet from my son’s bed in Central Oklahoma,” the post continued.

And so the Clifford family welcomed Pearl, Melinda, Jay-Sea, Sea-yonceeé, Rocket Larry and others to the mix.

Clifford says he knows of only one other octopus in Oklahoma — the Oklahoma Aquarium boasts a giant Pacific octopus — so finding caretakers has been tough.

He said he has reached out to every aquarium, biology department and pet store in a 100-mile radius, but each has politely declined to raise the baby bimacs.

The Clifford family has been documenting the unusual oct-currence on its TikTok @doctoktopus page. Doctoktopus TikTok

In a Sunday post, the family shared that the hatchlings are staying with a local reptile scientist known affectionately as Dr. Tim.

Terrance is sticking with them — she is still being fed by hand for now.

The Cliffords have other oct-stacles they’re facing — they revealed that a water filter installed for Terrance leaked for months “and now our house is getting ripped apart.”

They are also preparing to nurture any remaining hatchlings, but are begging aquariums to contact them. They set up a Venmo to help pay for octopus care.

They are hoping that an aquarium reaches out to care for the babies. Doctoktopus TikTok

“If at this point, you’re still considering getting an octopus, maybe first adopt a honey badger and see how that goes,” the family joked to its 362,200 TikTok followers.

The Post has messaged the Cliffords for comment.

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