The new giant Pacific octopus at the National Zoo. (Tamie DeWitt/National Zoo)

First, the good news: The National Zoo has a new giant Pacific octopus.

Now, the bad news: He (or she — the animal is too young for zookeepers to tell) needs a name.

More good news: KidsPost readers can name it!

All you have to do is come up with a name and an explanation (not more than 300 words) of why you chose the name and e-mail it to with “octopus” in the subject. We will send entries we receive by 5 p.m. December 12 to the zoo, where keepers and the zoo director will choose four finalists, who will be invited to the zoo December 17, to see the octopus choose its name.

The contest is for kids ages 5 to 15. Families and classes can also submit entries. Each entry must include name, age, home town, phone number and a note from a parent granting permission.

To help you think of just the perfect name, here are some facts about the giant Pacific octopus that might inspire you:

●Giant pacific octopuses can squirt ink to escape attackers.

●Keepers describe the animal as feisty and curious.

●Fully grown, it will have an arm span of more than 14 feet.

For more inspiration, you can look at the octopus at

Your parents can sign up for the zoo’s newsletter at www.national