Playtime for the Octopus!

A new octopus has taken up residence at Central Wharf, entertaining visitors for the past few weeks. Not even a year old yet, our newest eight-armed member is quite the handful!

The trainers presented Karma with this green ball—and she immediately took to it!

At a moment’s notice, Karma will change the color and texture of her skin, move quickly around her exhibit and check out the view through her exhibit window.

Karma can change color from a deep red to a dusky tan color.

With the keen intellect that demands constant mental stimulation, the husbandry staff is always working to find new ways to enrich Karma’s experience. A good back scratch or puzzle boxes have been the favorite playtimes of past octopuses. However, our new octopus had a new toy to play with, thanks to the Marine Mammal trainers!

Karma is very active and our aquarists are always looking for ways to keep her engaged.

Our Marine Mammal team provides enrichment for our seals and sea lions every day. Training sessions and playtime with toys allows these animals to be physically active, keep their brains active by learning new behaviors or manipulating objects and to have fun. Lots of toys can be seen in our two marine mammal exhibits…and one of these toys was shared with Karma!

A favorite toy of the marine mammals is a large, green plastic ball…and now it’s the octopus’s new favorite! Our aquarist smeared the outside of the ball with fish, added some fish inside the ball and then gave it to Karma. She loved it! She used her arms to pull the fish out of the small holes, manipulated the ball around the exhibit and then just hung out with it. Karma liked it so much she didn’t want to give it back, keeping the ball well secured in her arms for the next day.

To make sure that our animals are healthy at the Aquarium, our staff makes sure that the needs of each animal is met. That often requires going above feedings and tank cleanings. For some animals, mental stimulation is a must. And sometimes that enrichment is in the form of simple, green ball.

Even in a dim corner of her exhibit, you can sometimes catch Karma watching you.

See some Vine videos of Karma in action here, learn more about octopus intelligence, camouflaging abilities and their incredible ability to solve puzzles.

– Jo


  1. This is so cool and very sweet. Thank you! You're keeping Karma AND us entertained!

    1. It's our pleasure, we love sharing stories of animals on our amazing blue planet!

  2. What a cool animal! Our family can't wait for our next visit to the New England Aquarium, and a chance to see this newest addition. Thank you for all the great pictures.

    1. So glad you enjoyed them. Hope you'll be able to come see Karma sometime soon, she's really a beauty. And we have construction discounts on tickets right now!

  3. I love seeing stories like this!! Karma looks very happy with her new ball and it's pretty amazing to see her take to it like that.

  4. Very cool! Does Karma still love the ball, or has she moved on to a new toy?