We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Tree Octopus?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Pacific Northwest tree octopus or Octopus paxarbolis is a rare arboreal cephalopod with a range which stretches from California to British Columbia, with a concentration in the Olympic National Forest. Popularization of the cause of this animal has led a number of individuals to lobby for its inclusion on the Endangered Species List; alas, because the tree octopus is really an Internet hoax, these attempts have been unsuccessful.

The invention of the hoax has been credited to Lyle Zapato, who first started posting about the octopus in 1998, providing images of purported sightings along with general information about the habits and habitat of the Pacific Northwest tree octopus. Lyle's hoax was so well constructed that many people fell for it at the time and continue to do so, and the hoax even inspired the term "tree octopus problem" to refer to Internet literacy issues.

Zapato's site includes detailed information on the habits, habitat, and lifestyle of the animal. Visitors learn that tree octopi spawn in water, and that the animals are extremely shy. They purportedly move through the trees using a technique known as tentaculation, and they eat a varied diet which can include small animals and birds. The average octopus is around 13 inches (33 centimeters) in length, and like their aquatic counterparts, tree octopi can camouflage themselves to blend in with the surrounding environment.

The primary predators of the tree octopus, according to Zapato, are Sasquatch and bald eagles. The animals have also been subjected to habitat pressures as a result of pollution, logging, and other human activities, most famously the extensive harvest of tree octopi to decorate the hats of fashion-forward women in the 1920s. Invasive species such as feral cats have also been fingered as culprits involved in the declining population.

The well constructed information site on the octopus has been used in a number of classroom exercises to get students to learn to evaluate Internet websites critically and in studies to test Internet literacy. Surprisingly, many students and study subjects believed that the tree octopus site was genuine, even recommending the site to others and writing to representatives to request support for the tree octopus. The acceptance of the site as believable and valid has been used as an illustration of the problems Internet users face. Critical thinking skills and the ability to evaluate material presented as real are important for people who use the Internet to gather information.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon346027 — On Aug 24, 2013

Why did Lyle Zapato perpetuate this hoax? Was he also testing kids?

By anon212349 — On Sep 06, 2011

The "Other Animals of Interest" list seemed to have missed several long established "animals". The Snow Snake, Nocturnal Woodland Snipe, Screaming Tree Frog, and Barking Spider are not on that listing. Some could argue that the last two are better not saved or acknowledged when encountered.

By parmnparsley — On Oct 01, 2010

@ GlassAxe- Ha Ha Ha. That is so funny. I just posted a link to the dihydrogen monoxide site and the northern tree octopus site on my facebook page. I have a friend that is a complete conspiracy theorist so I am waiting to see if he bites, and re-sends the link to people. Hopefully it will be as funny as I envision.

By GlassAxe — On Oct 01, 2010

This is such a funny internet hoax. It reminds me of the hoax about dihydrogen monoxide or dihydrogen oxide. The compound is just water, but there are a few websites and organizations on the internet that lobby for the ban of dihydrogen monoxide. They say things like it is a chemical compound that is the basis for many explosives, disease, carcinogens, and environmental hazards.

These claims are all true, but they are greatly exaggerated. they are really aimed at beginners in chemistry, and often professors will test students by having them research dihydrogen monoxide.

Anyway, after reading this article I had to visit the tree octopus website to see how well done the hoax is. I have to say that it was amusing, and the quality of the site was impressive.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.