Beacon Journal staff report
The Akron Zoo has a new giant Pacific octopus to replace Cora, who died July 6.
The new octopus has taken up residency in the zoo’s popular Journey to the Reef exhibit.
Zoo officials said the results of a necropsy performed on Cora produced “no significant findings” and the cause of death appears to be age related. The life span of a giant Pacific octopus is about 3 years.
The new octopus is smaller than Cora, weighing about 8 pounds. Cora weighed about 20 pounds. The sex and age of the new octopus is unknown.
The zoo plans to hold a naming contest for the new octopus.
A contest to name Cora attracted 2,200 entries submitted from the United States and Canada.
The zoo garnered national attention when officials lowered the final three names into her exhibit using shrimp-filled balls inside a large plastic container.
It took five minutes for the octopus to unscrew the lid from the container and pull out the ball with the name Cora on it.
Giant Pacific octopuses are found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and live in rocky areas, caves and kelp forests. They eat fish, shrimp, crabs, scallops, clams and other shellfishes.
The arrival of the octopus comes in the midst of a busy week at the zoo as workers prepare the new $7.7 million Grizzly Ridge exhibit for visitors on Saturday.
The attraction will be home to the zoo’s grizzly bears and other animals.
Billed as one of the largest expansion projects in the zoo’s history, work began on the Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge in 2011.
It covers about 3.5 acres and will be home to more than six animal species never before seen at the Akron Zoo, including black bears, red wolves and coyotes.
The area also will be the new home for the zoo’s collection of river otters and bald eagles. An enclosed slide will run through the otter pool for children to glide through as the critters swim around them.