AKRON -- With the touch of a tentacle, the Akron Zoo's new octopus now has a name: Cora.
The 4-foot-long, 20-pound octopus chose its name Monday morning as part of a major contest in which the public was asked to help decide what to call the squirmy sea creature.
Akron Zoo officials say more than 2,200 names were submitted from across the United States and Canada. Those names were whittled down to three finalists: Cora, Scarlet and Octavia (the most popular).
All three of those names were written on enrichment balls filled with shrimp, placed into a container and dropped into the octopus tank. The first one she touched with one of her eight tentacles would become her name.
Within seconds of the container being put in the water, the octopus quickly wrapped its tentacles around it and held on as tightly as a child during their first roller coaster ride.
"We had several spotters looking to see which ball came out first and Cora was the winner," spokesman Dave Barnhardt said. "Cora is actually short for 'coral,' and the octopus lives on the coral reefs, so that's the name Cora in relationship to the octopus."
During the time she was working to select her name, Cora suddenly changed to a much darker color, which you can see at the 1:48 mark in the video above.
Barnhardt said they received some more obvious choices for a name like Ms. Tentacles, while a lot of children offered up their own personal names.
Despite his popularity in a previous Akron Zoo naming contest, one local celebrity was completely snubbed from this one.
"One of our jaguars here a couple of years ago was named LeBron. We ran a naming contest, that was one that was submitted (and selected)," Barnhardt said. "That LeBron jaguar was actually moved to a zoo in Miami. We didn't have any LeBrons this time so that was kind of surprising that out of the 2,200, some people thought there would be a lot of LeBrons and there wasn't this time."
As for those who submitted the name Cora, their names will be placed into a random drawing for an octopus prize pack and a behind-the-scenes tour at the new Journey to the Reef exhibit, which debuted on May 26.
Journey to the Reef will be open at the Akron Zoo for several years.