Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Monday, 10 May 2010

Romance and the Octopus

She is pale - now.
Each breath, a strain.
Her cave is hidden,
Dark and secret.
She is alone.

She sways with the current,
Tending her hanging gardens
Of Babylon with infinite care.
Eyes almost human regard me,
They do not ask why.

Her fate she accepts,
And I admire her for that.
Her children won't be unhappy.
I cannot help her - now.
Too much has been given.

This time she doesn't breathe,
Time for the little ones to leave.
Tears well in my eyes,
Time doesn't stop,
And softly she dies.

Alexa Greenwood

Octopuses are solitary creatures, they spend much of their lives avoiding other members of their species. If they do meet, then the larger will often try to eat the smaller.

Giant Pacific octopuses reach sexual maturity at just under three years old. When the female feels ready to mate, she chooses a den and entices males to come to her. It is thought that she does this by releasing a chemical attractant into the sea water. Any male within range will gravitate to her den. Octopuses are rarely seen in close proximity, but as many as ten mature males will be found around a female octopus who is ready to mate. They seem to ignore each other until the time comes to approach the female.

Here two male octopuses are arguing over the favours of a female. The larger one usually wins, but this is one occasion when the loser is allowed to withdraw with his life (although occasionally missing an arm or two). Mating is a risky business for the male octopus, especially if the female is bigger than he is, and it is a huge investment for him. Males may spend days guarding a female's den, chasing off rivals and trying to persuade the female to consider them.

The male octopuses hectocotylus or mating arm is inserted into the females mantle and he uses it to insert packets of sperm. This is the last significant action of the males life and he dies soon afterwards.

The female withdraws to her den, making it as secure as possible, and lays her eggs. These may number hundres of thousands, and she weave them into ropes which she attaches to the roof of her den.

She then spends the next months caring for her eggs, blowing sea water over them, stroking them, ensuring that they stay clean and aerated. During this time she doesn't leave her den other than to chase off potential predators, and she doesn't eat.

She grows weaker and weaker as the eggs mature, and by the time they hatch, she is almost dead. She blows water through her gills to help the hatchlings on their way, and as they leave, she crawls out of her den to die.
Her commitment to her young is immense, and she has given them the best chance she can to survive.

The young octopuses float up through the water to the surface and join the plankton layer. The journey is dangerous, and predators lurk around the den waiting for the thousands of paralarvae. Many of the them never reach the plankton. Those that do, grow until they are too heavy to cling to the surface, and then drift down to the ocean floor, where they start to eat, grow and avoid predators until they too can breed. Only one or two of the huge number of eggs will reach this point in their life.

An octopus paralarvae...isn't it perfect?

Tomorrow...the octopus in legend and literature.


  1. This is some great Blogging- it's just so facinating. I think your story captured the real essence of this creature- I'm loving it- so interesting. Thanks Anne.

    And love the poems!

    Debz :)

  2. I think I might run out of poems by the end of the week...or at least start cheating....