‘My Octopus Teacher’ is the Nature Documentary We All Need Right Now

The new Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher is a touching story about a free diver and filmmaker who gains the trust of an octopus as the unlikely pair form a strong bond over the course of a year. The diver’s daily underwater visits to the octopus are documented each day, and the result is a beautiful film that touches on humans’ relationship with nature, animals, and the environment. (Be sure to grab the tissues for this tear-jerker!) 


  • According to experts, octopuses were the first intelligent beings on the planet. They’ve been observed using tools, and can even open jars and child-proof bottles. They have excellent short and long-term memory. 
  • Two thirds of an octopus’ brain is in his or her arms! Octopuses have tons of neurons in each arm, that allow the appendages to independently smell, taste, and move objects without input from their brain.
  • They’re escape artists. Like all of us, octopuses want to live free from physical or emotional suffering. Octopuses have been known to  spray water at experimenters in a laboratory, and have shorted out light circuits when they wanted darkness in captivity. An octopus named Inky made headlines in New Zealand when he escaped from his tank at an aquarium and made his way to a drainpipe that led to the sea. 
  • They have emotions and can feel pain. Although this fact has been proven, octopuses are still killed in horrific ways. They’re bashed in the head or shot with spear guns, and often suffer prolonged deaths. Sometimes, they’re even eaten alive! Cephalopod expert Jennifer Mather, PhD explains that an octopus likely suffers tremendously while being cut up. “[T]he octopus, which you’ve been chopping to pieces, is feeling pain every time you do it. It’s just as painful as if it were a hog, a fish, or a rabbit, if you chopped a rabbit’s leg off piece by piece. So it’s a barbaric thing to do to the animal.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Watch My Octopus Teacher on Netflix, and skip the calamari!  Never eat octopus or any other sea animal. The fishing industry is not only violent toward curious, sensitive animals like the octopus featured in the documentary, but it’s also destroying our oceans and the environment.