Eerie shape recorded along Outer Banks was creature rarely seen near beach, park says

A rare sighting of a live octopus in shallow water was caught on video at Cape Lookout National Seashore on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, according to the National Park Service.

The video was posted Nov. 19 by the park and shows a vague shape that kept changing its appearance as it moved parallel to the beach.

“Not often seen within the park, this small octopus was spotted swimming near the beach on the sound-side of the barrier island,” the park wrote.

“They are fairly common (along the coast), but are masters at camouflage.”

News of the find came about a week after an even more unusual octopus encounter was reported at Frisco Beach on the Outer Banks.

Steven Kawika Wurld posted photos showing he was stunned to find a live octopus tucked in a seashell near ramp 49. “Placed him/it back a little deeper after snapping these pix,” he wrote on Facebook.

Steven Kawika Wurld reported Nov. 12 that he found an octopus in a seashell while visiting Ramp 49 Frisco Beach on the Outer Banks.
Steven Kawika Wurld reported Nov. 12 that he found an octopus in a seashell while visiting Ramp 49 Frisco Beach on the Outer Banks.

Park officials did not identify the species of octopus in the video, but noted it was alive. Its color is similar to that of the common octopus, a species occasionally caught by anglers along the North Carolina coast.

The common octopus can reach 22 pounds and 36 inches, according to National Geographic.

“Its first — and most amazing — line of defense is its ability to hide in plain sight. Using a network of pigment cells and specialized muscles in its skin, this invertebrate can almost instantaneously match the colors, patterns, and even textures of its surroundings,” National Geographic says.

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“Predators such as sharks, eels, and dolphins swim by without even noticing it.”

The park’s video has gotten 10,000 views, and commenters have noted the octopus was not exhibiting “normal behavior.” Some speculated a sudden change in water temperature may have stunned it.

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