I remember just how excited I was last season to see my first Mimic Octopus, it was a very special moment and had been waiting for about 6 years. They had fascinated me ever since seeing them on YouTube.
Currently, this season we get 1 – 4 Mimic’s on any dive we do at Kata beach in Phuket, not bragging, just saying there is quite a few of them out there. I’d even say they are probably the dominant Cephalopod there as other Octopus, even the common Octopus are not sighted nearly as often.
The cool thing about finding so many Mimic Octopus is you get to discern some of their behavior. Many of the Mimics if not all, are usually just eye stalks in the sand, similar to the photo. They can probably hear or sense us divers coming from miles away and do a pretty good job of keeping a lookout at their current den when they do.
If you approach them low and slow, you can get quite close. Usually they don’t emerge fully, instead, they have a tendency to entertain your photos for a minute or two, stick one arm out of their den and slowly unravel it toward you. Sometimes I imagine them gifting me a fish head of some kind as a present, but usually, they want to feel the camera lens or port with their arm, then retreat into the burrow.
I’ve experienced and witnessed this behavior several times now. I find it interesting that maybe they just don’t like the feel of this cold robotic thing in front of them, instead, maybe they are hoping for a fleshy finger to bite, or are they trying to shake my hand and be underwater bro’s.
Maybe I will test this theory out next time or, maybe I won’t since we shouldn’t touch the marine life, although technically it was touching me :P