Boy ends up with 50 octopuses after family buys pregnant pet

California two-spot octopus
Terrance, the California two-spot octopus, became a member of the Clifford family - TikTok/Tik Toktopus

A family found themselves caring for 51 octopuses after they unwittingly bought a pregnant one, mistakenly thinking it was male.

Cal Clifford had been obsessed with the creatures since he was two and his dentist father, Cameron finally acquiesced.

Mr Clifford, a 36-year-old dentist from Oklahoma, duly bought a 60-gallon tank as part of a surprise for Cal’s Ninth birthday.

He then bought a California two-spot octopus from a local aquarium.

It came by post swimming inside a bag of water, and Terrance became a member of the family.

Clifford family
Dad Cameron bought his son Cal (first left) a pet octopus after his son's obsession with them began when he was three-years-old

Initially, the Cliffords thought Terrance was a male. Within a few weeks, they discovered that they were mistaken.

The tank in Cal’s bedroom in Edmund, Oklahoma was packed with dozens of eggs.

Mr Clifford had assumed the eggs were not fertilised, but Terrance had mated before being caught by a diver.

When Mr Clifford picked one up a blob popped out and started swimming around the tank.

“I just screamed my wife’s name,” Clifford, 36, told The Washington Post. “That started the whole stress of it because now we felt this immense responsibility of taking care of these babies.”

Baby number one was named Pearl. Then came Seaoncé, Jay Sea, Swim Shady, Squid Cudi, Bill Nye the Octopi and Champ.

Within a matter of weeks, the Cliffords were caring for 51 of the creatures.

The Cliffords got off lightly. A giant Pacific octopus can produce more than 50,000 eggs, according to biologist Jim Cosgrove.

But caring for Terrance’s massive brood has proved rather expensive.

Tank housing the baby octopuses
The remaining 23 baby octopuses are living in the lap of luxury, each having its own plastic container - Cameron Clifford

There has been a bill for individual homes for each of the offspring. Feeding them did not come cheap, with the family spending several thousand dollars for snails, clams and crabs.

The Cliffords have also had to pick up the tab for fixing water damage and a small fire.

“Do not get a pet octopus unless you’re ready to lose sleep and your kids’ college fund simultaneously,” Mr Clifford told USA Today.

The tale of Terrance and her children has gone viral with Mr Clifford’s TikTok videos being watched by 400,000 people.

“It’s something that I think a lot of people need because there’s so much bad news in the world,” Mr Cifford added.

“Having an octopus is hard. It’s laboursome and expensive. It’s wet. It’s all of the above. So you shouldn’t do it if you’re not prepared to follow through.”

Mr Clifford enlisted the help of Tim Tytle, an 80-year-old retired radiologist - whose own menagerie includes two octopuses along with geckos, sea horses and venomous lizards.

Some of the baby octopuses died while being taken to Mr Tytle’s home.

The remaining 23 babies are living in the lap of luxury, Each has its own plastic container and is being fed live mysid shrimp, which are specially imported from the US East Coast.