Enough panda obsession! Throw your arms around the new octopus

Maybe not a cuddly as panda Tai Shan, but the giant Pacific octopus, now just 3 pounds, will grow around 13 times its size this year. The gender is still unknown, as well as its name, which will be decided on by the National Zoo this month.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's our creepiest rite of spring, this annual obsession with panda procreation. Yesterday we were at it again, shamelessly watching a video of poor Mei Xiang's ultrasound to see if the female giant panda might be pregnant with another butter pat.

Enough with the pandas, already.

I'm sorry, but Pandacam is just so 2008.

Tai Shan is gone. The young panda plowed through 40 pounds of bamboo on his 8,000-mile flight from the National Zoo to China last month, landed a corporate sponsorship as soon as he hit the ground and moved into a new crib with a she-bear named Snow White.

Washington needs a new animal celebrity, one more in line with our character, intellect, values and personality. We need to love and celebrate an animal that is more than a bamboo-eating ball of fur. We must end our cuteness dependence on China, for crying out loud.

Helloooo, giant Pacific octopus.

No, really, it makes perfect sense.

Think of all the beasties here in our nation's capital who are like the octopus, with its eight long arms able to reach into so many places at once. It's known for an amazing ability to change both its color and texture to blend into its surroundings.

Campaign trail, anyone?

If the disguise isn't working and it senses danger, it goes shock-white and blossoms red rings around its eyes to look menacing. If that doesn't work, it squirts ink as a diversion and dodges away.

Sound like any Capitol Hill news conferences you've seen lately?

When it feeds, it often slowly descends onto a coral, ballooning around it, then devouring any of the fish that try to swim away, trapped by its expansive embrace.

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