Beneath the waves of the world’s oceans, a menace is stirring. A threat is rising from the muck and mire of the seafloor bottom, and humanity is unaware of the cephalopod invasion. We will stare in horror as their slimly tendrils and flexible bodies creep towards us. And our defenses will fragment and be destroyed before their boneless onslaught. The Onion rightly paints a future doomsday scenario where dolphins grow opposable thumbs and soon take over the world. However humorous this situation may sound, we are sadly directing our attention to the wrong creatures. Dolphins can never enslave the human race for their fish mines, but Octopus can. These mussel-adoring blue-blooded animals will have no qualms making us mine for their favorite hard-shelled snacks. Let us delve into the genius of our future overlords.
Where to even start with these monsters of the sea, and soon to be land banshees as well? For starters, each one is poisonous. Ah! You may say, but only the Blue-Ringed Octopus is actually deadly to humans! And since we can see blue rings quite clearly, it should be easy to avoid death-by-octopus, right? Wrong. An average octopus lives 4 years, which means that they can have 10 generations every time us humans only have one. This only encourages genetic mutations, and we all know what that means: in less than 50 years octopus will be able to spit instant-death poison. It’s like the Dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park, except these guys are small and squishy.
Astute readers may also point out that octopus and other cephalopods only live in water, and even if they could evolve the ability to walk on land like our ancestors did, it would be a matter of millions of years: which would provide us with plenty of time to prepare adequate defenses. Too late. Squids of death already can crawl on land between tidal pools, and aquariums report that octopus can break out of their highly secured cages, crawl down the hall, snack on the tasty morsels in the shellfish storage tanks, and then return to their own tanks. All they leave behind is a wet and slimy trail of what I can only expect is highly toxic poison. And they do this at night, when they know we’re not looking.
And that’s not even the worst part. Cephalopods are masters of disguise. Not only are they colormorphs who can change their coloration on command from their insidious brains, but they also have evolved the ability to actually mimic the behavior and appearance of other creatures. Mimic octopus can change into crabs, fish, and other creatures. Watch out for that weird “Uncle Jerry” across the street: is he a human, or an octopus in disguise? And just when you’re about to call the police on him, *BAM* a face full of ink before you’re hit with the spitting poison.
Just when things couldn’t get worse for land-dwellers, it does. These cephalopods are the transformers of the ocean. They can creep around on all 8 tentacles, they can jet along with their internal squirters, and they can even “walk” on two tentacles. They’re silent too: squid can change colors of different appendages and hold silent light-assisted conversations with multiple squid at once. Sneak attacks are easy when you can creep along and communicate silently.
Think we can just blow them away? Think again. They don’t have any skeletons, so you can’t just shoot them in a critical area to disable their movement. Any shot will just go right through them with minimal damage. With 8 tentacles, you’ll need to hit them multiple times before they even start to feel it. Even their headshots aren’t that deadly: their nervous system is distributed throughout the body, and the tentacles are often capable of running the show when the head is too busy being blown off. And, of course, octopus already have the ability to use coconut shells as shields. They can hold the shell with 6 tentacles, and walk with the other two.
Their end goal, of course, is to enslave humans to be their mussel field farmers. They exhibit a clear cruel streak. Already known to “juggle [their] fellow tankmates around out of boredom, as well as throwing rocks and smashing the aquarium glass,” it’s no stretch of the imagination to see them as tossing humans around whenever their mussel production isn’t up to par. Right before they rip them apart with their tentacles, that is. With 8 arms, they can get in 200-400% more whippings than the traditional Southern American slaver. Even their poisons are a cruel joke: “Tetrodotoxin poisoning can result in the victim being fully aware of his surroundings but unable to breathe. Because of the paralysis that occurs they have no way of signaling for help or any way of indicating distress.” And believe me, when Chester drops wide-eyed on the farm floor, you’ll damn well be sure to double your mussel production.
Finally, we must address the most potent threat of all: cuttlefish. Never. EVER. Cuddle with a cuttlefish. If you do, humanity will forever be doomed. Cuddling with a cuttlefish is like cuddling with the next Hitler. Just consider that, smart guy.
So what do we do about this? Global warming, and a lot of it. While the sea level will rise, we can also make the surface so dry and humid they’ll instantly shrivel up and die. And that’s how we roll.