I can’t say I disagree with these pro-octopus sentiments, though having a cheap and charismatic supergenius escape artist does not preclude having a panda too:

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. …

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.

A Georgetown fundraiser, perhaps?

Our cephalopod of the moment arrived in a brown cardboard box from Vancouver via FedEx last month. …

Alan Peters, who has been the curator of the zoo’s invertebrates exhibit since its opening 23 years ago.… “But the octopus, now that really is a charismatic, amazing animal.”

Our octopus is just a three-pound, fist-sized youngster, and the zoo is still unsure of gender. But who cares if it’s male or female, as long as we no longer have to deal with all those excruciating details of panda fertility? …

The octopus is actually a fascinating creature, less cute perhaps but far more cerebral than many other zoo inhabitants. Kind of like policy wonks.

They are the only invertebrate to have shown the ability to solve puzzles and mazes, and some scientists are pursuing the theory that their changing of colors and patterns is a complex language.

And an octopus has three hearts, just like some of our city’s tireless nonprofit do-gooders. …

“Oh, they can be on T-shirts, mugs, key chains — anywhere a panda can go,” Peters begins to dream. He has never had an animal go that big.

Yes, please! I have no fewer than 8 cephalopod t-shirts, plenty of room for National Zoo swag. I’ll come by to get my shirt in October during USA Science and Engineering Festival!

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