The Many Armed Wonder

If you had eight arms that you could use for legs-or eight legs that you could use for arms..and if your eyes stuck out at the top of your arms-or legs…and if you had a big head that flopped over like a bag when you rested…
If you had practically no neck..
If your mouth were underneath your head..
If you could change your color whenever you wanted to..
If you lived in ocean water and laid eggs and could squirt out a kind of black ink that made the water cloudy so that no animal could see you..Do you know what people would call you?

They’d call you an octopus. Not so many years ago, people told wild stories about a deep-sea monster that came up from the bottom of the ocean and wrapped long, wriggling arms around a big ship and dragged it under the water. They called this monster a devilfish or octopus.But now we know that no octopus grows so large. Some of them are no bigger than a man and are not even mean or dangerous. They are shy creatures that eat shellfish, such as crabs, lobsters and mussels. They swim or run away fast across the sea bottom on their eight rubbery arms-or legs-if you try to come close.

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An octopus usually lives alone among the rocks on the bottom of the ocean, in places where the water is not very cold and not very deep. Sometimes it even moves rocks with its long arms, or tentacles and makes a kind of cave for itself. An octopus can do more strange things than you would imagine anyone creature could do. Since it has no real bones in its body it can stretch itself out as if it were made of rubber. It can squish and squeeze itself through cracks between the rocks and then go back to its regular shape.

Underneath each of its eight rubbery arms it has many little round suckers or suction cups. It can use these to climb on steep rocks or to hold on to things. They are like the rubber suction cups you may have seen on toys or on picture frames that you can stick on the wall.One of the strangest things an octopus can do its color. Hunting or hiding among green seaweed it can make itself look green, so that its enemies the shark and the moray eel can’t see it. If it near a brown rock, it can make itself look brown. If it is suddenly frightened , waves of many different colors may flow over it-shades of pink, blue,green, brown or gray. It can even change the feel of its skin. Sometimes you would find it smooth to touch and sometimes rough and bumpy. And one more thing-if it wants to run away from an enemy it can shoot out a kind of ink to color the water around it and help it hide.

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You are in the waves at the seashore when suddenly something that feels cold and creepy and wetter than water slaps you on the back! Is it a friendly fish ?No, it is probably one of the plants called seaweed. These plants are called that because they grow wild in the sea just as weeds grow on wild land. Seaweed is not really a weed. Weeds are plants that have leaves, stems, roots and flowers. Seaweed has none of these and grows only in water.

People in many parts of the world eat seaweed. There is one kind dulse, that is just dried and eaten raw. Some seaweed is ground into powder to make food that taste like noodles and spaghetti. Sea lettuce is really used in salads. Many kinds of seaweed can be boiled and served like spinach or beet or turnip greens.



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Dried seaweed is used in medicine and also as fertilizers a special kind of plant food that helps plants grow. And as you might expect many kinds of fish eat seaweed. Although seaweed feels cold and creepy and wetter than water, it’s both beautiful and useful in many ways.

Why the Oceans Are Salty

If you ever get a mouthful of ocean water, you’ll find it’s very salty.How did it get this way? Rivers are the oceans’ saltshakers. Almost every river in the world finally pours its water into an ocean. While the river is running to the sea, it loosens some of the land and carries it long. The land is made up of rocks and soil, which contain minerals. One of these minerals is salt.

You can’t taste the salt in river water because the river doesn’t carry much salt at any one time. And you can’t taste it in most lakes because as one river brings a little salt in, another river carries it out. It has taken rivers millions and millions of years to pour enough salt into oceans to make ocean water taste salty. Salt water is not good for people to drink. It is not good for plants. We can’t stop the rivers from carrying salt from the land to the sea, but we can do something so that we can use the waters of the sea for people and plants.

Scientists are working on machines that will take salt out of ocean water. Some of these machines work very well, but they cost too much to use as much as we would like. So scientists keep trying to find cheaper ways to do the job. When you grow up you may be one of the people who invent a new way to take salt out of ocean water. That’s would be better than discovering a shipwrecked pirate’s treasure. The people and plants on the lands of this Earth need nonsalty ocean water more than gold or jewels!