No ’arm done to poorly octopus

Orlando the Octopus at his new home. Credit: Warren Smith
Orlando the Octopus at his new home. Credit: Warren Smith

An octopus is recovering at the Sea Life Centre Blackpool after being left high-and-dry on the promenade.

Astonished council street cleaners discovered the stranded lesser octopus halfway up the resort’s famous Spanish Steps, leading from the Prom down to the beach.

Sea Life staff in Blackpool have duly christened him with the Spanish name Orlando.

Jez Evans, 49-year-old manager of Blackpool Council’s Local Environment Action Force said: “We thought it was dead at first, then we noticed its tentacles moving.”

Jez’s colleague Nigel Clarkson bravely picked up the unlucky cephalopod and placed it in a sea puddle at the foot of the steps, where it showed signs of revival.

“It was 8am and the tide had been out for hours,” said Jez. “You could see a trail on the steps where it had crawled back and forth.”

Jez called the Sea Life Centre and marine expert Scott Blacker raced down to the beach with a bucket.

Orlando was soon settled into a quiet behind- the -scenes quarantine tank where he has continued to perk up and has now enjoyed his first meal of a shore crab.

Scott said: “Lesser octopuses are found all around the northern coasts of the UK.

“They feed on crabs and other crustaceans but although they can be found in quite shallow waters, it is very rare to find one out of water altogether. We can only assume that Orlando chased a crab inshore and was caught out by the speed of the retreating tide. It certainly races in and out over the Golden Mile.”

Provided he continues to flourish Orlando will get his own cosy display tank later this week and regular free meals and pampering from Scott and his colleagues.

Nigel Clarkson, 38, of Loughrigg Terrace, Blackpool, has been a familiar sight on the seafront for the last seven years patrolling on his quad bike and trailer collecting litter.

He said: “I’ve come across a stranded seal pup before, and plenty of jellyfish and starfish, but this was my first octopus.

“I’m delighted we found him in time to save him.”