Rockpoolers have reported several octopus sightings in North Devon - a rare occurance, as these eight-legged creatures are usually found deep underwater. So why are they here?

Several octopus sightings have been reported in North Devon in the aftermath of Storm Brian and ex-Hurricane Ophelia.

The eight-legged creatures are usually found deep under the water, but have been spotted in the last week in rockpools at Lee, Bucks Mills and Saunton Sands.

According to the Beach Stuff UK blog,the cephalopods have been washing up across North Devon and beyond.

They have created this interactive map to show where octopus strandings have been reported.

On the blog they wrote: "Storm Brian was the second UK named storm of the 2017 season, following hot on the heels of Storm Ophelia the weekend before.

"It brought big winds, rain and huge swell to areas of the UK on 21st October.

"The day after, we began getting reports of baby octopuses in rockpools in South West England - an extremely unusual occurrence - and then from Wales and farther afield..

"We are now collecting any sightings of octopus in England, Wales and Ireland from 21st to 24th October.

Sam Mathews took these pictures of an octopus in a rockpool at Lee.Sam Mathews took these pictures of an octopus in a rockpool at Lee.

"We are trying to map all the sightings to help us understand where the strandings were taking place - so far it looks like we have a cluster around Anglesey and one in North Devon."

Sam Mathews posted these photos of an octopus in a rockpool at Lee Bay.

She wrote: "Went for a lovely windy walk around Lee Bay and Sandy Bay yesterday and my 11-year-old was lucky enough to spot an octopus whilst rockpooling.

"Thought I'd share photo as in all my years rockpooling in the West Country I've never seen one before."

Paula Ferris sighted this octopus at Saunton Sands.Paula Ferris sighted this octopus at Saunton Sands.

Paula Ferris found one on Saunton Sands, and said she had only ever found three of them before.

She said: "All presumably driven on shore by the stormy seas where most will have stranded and died. 

"Mine was completely white when I found it, but quickly recovered its colour and texture when returned to water.

"I left it in a deep rock-pool so it could return to sea when the tide turned."

Ian Garrett found this octopus at Bucks Mills.Ian Garrett found this octopus at Bucks Mills.

Another photograph was also posted in the A Place In North Devon Facebook group of an octopus at Bucks Mills beach.

Ian Garrett said his six-year-old daughter Alice found the octopuse between some rocks.

"She found the fact it was changing colour from dark orange to white and sky blue fascinating.

"She and my three-year-old son were concerned so wanted to make sure it could get to the water, so we moved some pebbles to clear a path to a pool of water it could hide in until the tide came back in.

"Attempts to pick it up made it more distressed and it was squirting water out of its vents beside its eyes, so we left it to make its own way to the water and let it be once in the pool.

"Was only about five-to-10cm in body size but about the size of a small plate when stretching out its arms."

It follows sightings of dozens of octopuses crawling along the beaches in Wales this week.

Have you seen an octopus stranded in North Devon? Send your photos to newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk.