Some egg-laying mothers have to be pretty patient. That’s because it can take days and days before the eggs hatch.
For chickens, a hen has to wait about 21 days for its eggs to hatch. But that’s nothing compared to an octopus that researchers found living at a depth of more than three-quarters of a mile in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.
When researchers piloted a remote submarine deep into an ocean canyon, they spotted an octopus mom with her 160 eggs. They then went back and checked on the octomom – 18 times over 53 months before the eggs she was guarding finally hatched. That’s almost 4.5 years!
Considering the length of time it took the eggs to hatch, the researchers say it is the longest egg-brooding period ever reported for any animal.
Octopus eggs laid in shallow, warmer waters typically hatch in one to three months. Often, the octomom doesn’t eat while tending her eggs. Even after they hatch, many of the young octopuses don’t survive – one estimate was that only one out of 100 live to become adults.