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Freshwater octopuses have been reported from a number of US States, most famously Oklahoma, where they are called the Oklahoma Octopus.[1]


According to writer and member of the Kiowa tribe Russell Bates, the Caddo people have a legend of a horse-sized reddish-brown creature with tentacles that drags people under the water in several Oklahoman small lakes. Bates also speculated that an unknown creature was causing high drowning rates in the man-made lakes Tenkiller, Thunderbird and Oolagah.[2]



According to the Charleston Gazette, a living octopus was pulled from the water by two boatmen on the Kanawha river. Police eventually traced the octopus to a theft from a local store[3]


Multiple octopuses were captured in Blackwater river in West Virginia by a group of kids. Three specimens were captured but one was thrown back into the water as the kids didn't think that their catch was significant. Their principle examined one of the octopuses and stated that the tentacles were about "2 and a half feet" (90 centimeters) in length. He also expressed skepticism that they were secretly released into the water by a local veteran due to their size. [4][3]


A group of children pulled a living octopus out of the water near Grafton, West Virginia. It's tentacles measured 60 centimeters (2 feet) in length, and it only died after being pulled out of the water.[3][5]



The photograph of the Ohio octopus specimen.

A woman reported a creature "like an octopus" bobbing in the water on the Ohio River.[5][6]


A recently deceased octopus was found on the fossil beds near the banks of the Ohio River in 1999. A park worker took a photograph of the octopus, which he described as not in a state of decomposition.[5]


Release Captive[]

Chad Arment and Brad LaGrange theorized that some sightings could be explained by people releasing invasive species of octopus into the water, where they would later be captured. The problem they had with this theory is that most of the sightings were of living specimens of octopus, where a released captive would've likely died quickly after being released into freshwater. Cephalopod expert John W. Forsythe noted that the 1999 Ohio octopus photo resembled octopus filosus, which was known to be sold in Haitian aquarium markets.[5]

Freshwater Octopus[]

Arment and LaGrange also theorized that a species of octopus could've somehow adapted to a few systems of freshwater. They noted a possible but tenuous connection with cold water letting octopuses adapt to freshwater, as many sightings occurred in winter months.[5]


Mark Hall speculated that the animals could be living sea scorpions, chelicerates known from the fossil record from the Ordovician to the Late Permian (~467—252 MYA) that evolved tentacles, as their fossils were found in both freshwater and saltwater.[7]

  2. Russell Bates, “Legends of the Kiowa,” INFO Journal, no. 52 (May 1987): 4-10.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Hall, M. (2001). Wonders, 6(4).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Arment, C., & LaGrange, B. (2000). A Freshwater Octopus? . North American Biofortean Notes, 2(5).
  7. Hall, M. 1999). Wonders, 6(1).