Attacks & Encounters

Allegheny Freshwater Octopus attacks and encounters are relatively rare, except in the summer months. However, once the Allegheny Freshwater Octopus attacks, injuries can be severe.

One young man from Squirrel Hill (a section of Pittsburgh, PA) discovered this in June 2010 when a particularly large Allegheny Octopus latched onto him while he was swimming in the Monongahela River. As the photo shows, the octopus’ strong arms wrapped around him and left severe bruising at the site of each tentacle.

The Allegheny Freshwater Octopus is aggressive from an early age, as evidenced by this diver’s photo from July 2011. The diver, a graduate student from the University of Oregon’s Institute of Marine Biology, had hoped to capture one of these rare specimens for study. Her companions were able to wrestle the octopus from her head, but not before her nose and other facial bones were broken, requiring significant surgical remodeling.

The Allegheny Freshwater Octopus secretes a chemical from its tentacles that is intended to paralyze its prey. Humans rarely experience paralysis after contact with the Allegheny Freshwater Octopus, but often experience a burning reaction instead. This victim had been swimming in the Monongahela River when she was viciously attacked in July 2005. It was this attack that first alerted the scientific community that local legends of an underwater monster were indeed rooted in fact.

If you or someone you know has been attacked by the Allegheny Freshwater Octopus, please report it today.


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