The Oatmeal

The Oatmeal

This is why an octopus is more awesome than your mom

Why an octopus is more awesome than your mom

Why an octopus is more awesome than your mom

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you think your mother, or perhaps mothers in general, are pretty goddamn awesome. They scrub things, cook pot roast, and produce shrieking little babies which grow up to be astronauts and prime ministers. When you got sucker-punched at recess, she was there for you. When you accidentally peed your pants on the first day of school, she wiped away the tears. When the cat ate your favorite hamster and then barfed it onto your favorite pair of pajamas, she was your shoulder to cry on. Mothers sacrifice their own happiness for the betterment of their offspring.

horrk blergggg

Like most universally liked things, however, there's always a better underdog.

Enter the octopus.

Comparing moms to an octopus would be like pitting an army of savages against one well-oiled gatling gun sitting atop a hill. The mothers would charge the hill, hurling rocks and sticks; they'd roar righteous, compassionate battle cries of warriors who believe they are fighting for the betterment of humanity. They'd truly fight from the heart.

Meanwhile the gatling gun would rotate in a precise semicircle and mow them down like dogs.

moms vs the gatling gun


Mothers love to complain about child birth. We've all heard it: "I went into labor and it lasted 36 hours!" or "When I farted out my last baby it hurt like a sonofabitch." When an octopus mother gives birth, she blasts out nearly 200,000 babies and then hangs onto them within her tentacles. If food becomes low, she'll scoop them up like nachos and eat a few thousand in order to survive. I bet your mom never carried a few hundred thousand infants in her arms and ate a few when she wanted a snack, now did she?

Extra babies = nachos


Some octopuses differ in size so greatly that the father will never grow to be be larger than an acorn, meanwhile the mother will mature to be the size of a human being (150 lbs or so). This disparity in size would be like marrying a woman who grows to be the size of a dump truck. Impressive, huh?

You bet your ass it is.

Furthermore, when an octopus mother finally sets her spawn free, she doesn't hang around and become a mommy blogger who bitches all day about nothing. Instead, she'll wander off in her weakened state and get devoured by a large predator. The idea here being that once you perpetuate your own genes, you don't have fuckall left to do so you should just let yourself become food for the rest of the animal kingdom. This is a sentiment I fully endorse, and if our moms really wanted to impress us they'd take to the hills and fight it out with mountain lions after our first birthday.


An octopus doesn't sit around like an undersea lawn ornament, lazily watching repeats of Maury Povich or "nesting." Octopuses are clever as hell and will entertain themselves by tormenting other sea creatures. This includes juggling crabs, throwing objects, and smashing things. One particularly bored octopus in a German aquarium was reported to squirt water out of his tank at an overhead lamp. The burnout caused a short-circuit throughout the entire aquarium which disrupted the pumps and endangered the lives of all the other animals. Other octopuses have been found to use old coconut shells to build little houses for themselves on the ocean floor, so while the moms of today are busy cleaning vomit off the seats of cheap minivans, octopuses are setting up undersea battle stations so they can one day win the war against all the other useless assclowns floating around in the ocean.


Unlike fish, which are dumb as shit, octopuses are insanely smart. They have both short and long-term memory, and in lab experiments they can be taught to differentiate shapes and patterns. They have also been seen to observe other octopuses and learn from their behavior. So theoretically, if a dolphin bum-rushed an octopus he'd not only remember it, he'd stalk the dolphin and take a giant octo-dump in his mouth while he slept.

Shart right in his worthless mouth-hole

Would your mother ever exact revenge on a dolphin by crapping in its gaping, blue jaws?

I didn't think so.


Suppose you asked your mom to take down a caribou. Were she an octopus, she'd become nearly invisible and slide up next to it. Once she was within a few feet of it, she'd spray out a massive cloud of black ink. This ink would create a screen that she could conceal herself behind, and once close, she'd blast herself forward and encompass the caribou in a death grip, her motion and strength propelled by two of the three hearts used to pump blood in her body. Upon gripping the caribou, her arms would have taste buds so she would actually know the flavor of the caribou long before it reached her mouth. These arms would also deliver a paralyzing venom which would render the caribou unable to move but fully aware of its surroundings. Once paralyzed, she'd use her radula, which is sort of like a tongue equipped with miniature teeth, to drill into the caribou and suck out all the delicious innards.

Mom vs the caribiou


If you're an undersea predator, you'd be well advised not to fuck with an octopus. First of all, they're very difficult to spot, especially the ones capable of changing their skin color to camouflage themselves. They can not only change the color of their skin, but the texture as well; they have tiny muscles which can constrict to appear rough like a piece of coral or pointy like seaweed. If spotted, they'll spray a cloud of ink in order to screw up a predator's sense of smell or temporarily confuse them while they make their getaway. They have no rigid skeleton, so their flexible bodies can squeeze through tiny spaces to evade capture. If caught, most octopus tentacles are venomous to predators, so even touching them can cause injury. There are also types of octopus which will tear off the tentacles of a Portuguese man-of-war (one of the most toxic, dangerous creatures on earth). Being immune to the deadly sting of the man-of-war, an octopus will then wield the stingers as weapons against other predators.

man-of-wars are a-holes, especially Portugese ones

If, by chance, a predator actually manages to get hold of an octopus, the octopus is capable of letting a limb tear off in order to escape - a limb which will regenerate later on. If your mom could defend herself like an octopus, she'd evade being defeated by a mountain lion simply by letting him rip off her arms, at which point she'd flee into the forest and grow new ones.

If only our moms could do this

If the "discard a body part" tactic doesn't work, the octopus has a razor-sharp beak which it can bite down with. I find it fitting that the only rigid part of an octopus' body is the part it uses to shank other sea creatures.

In Conclusion

On one hand, we've got someone who blares the Hakuna Matata in the car and shops for breast pumps. On the other, we've got a murderous, smart creature capable of the most despicably awesome acts in the animal kingdom. It can become invisible, re-grow damaged limbs, shrink to impossible sizes, solve complex problems, blind predators, paralyze prey, and generally fuck with every other creature you saw in The Little Mermaid.

I'd say the victor is fairly obvious.

Note: before sending me an angry, misguided email about how I'm pluralizing octopuses incorrectly, go watch this:

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