What animals eat octopus?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “what animals eat octopus?”. We will also know more about the octopus, its habitat, and its feeding habits.

What animals eat octopus?

Seals, sea otters, dolphins, sea birds, sharks, moray, conger eels, and humans are natural predators of an octopus.

Octopuses suffer from autophagy or self-cannibalism, they sometimes eat their own arms when stressed and die due to infection.

Seals

Seals are carnivorous in nature and their primary source of food is fish. But they would eat any type of meat they can get, including octopuses.

Dolphins

The bottlenose dolphins feed on octopuses as they are filled with high-quality protein. They break the octopus body and tentacles into pieces by shaking them violently and tearing them apart.

Sea birds

Sea birds like penguins, seagulls, petrels, and albatross feed on octopuses. These birds feed on smaller octopuses like pelagic octopus which live near the surface of the water.

Large fish

The most common predators of octopuses are sharks, moray eels, and conger eels.

Sea otters

Sea otters prey on many other marine animals and octopuses are one of them.

Whales

The sperm whales, white whales, and beaked whales all fed on octopuses.

Humans

Humans are also one of the main predators as per consumption is concerned. Octopuses are eaten all over the world alive, raw, or cooked. 

What is an octopus?

Octopus or octopuses or octopodes is a soft-bodied, eight-limbed mollusc of the order Octopoda. The octopus is venomous but only the blue-ringed octopus is known to be dangerous to humans.

Octopus has an amazing somatosensory system which means that they can taste what they touch with their suction cups. The suction cups are equipped with chemoreceptors.

Octopuses are found in all oceans as they have adapted to different marine habitats around the globe. The octopuses are not found to live in freshwater. They are solitary in nature unless mating.

The average lifespan of octopuses is 1-2 years and is limited to reproduction. The female octopus dies shortly after the eggs are hatched and the male octopus lives for only a few months after mating.

The octopus is also known as the chameleon of the seas as an octopus can change shape and colour. The biology of the octopus is a rather unique one with three hearts, nine brains, and blue blood.

Out of the three hearts, two hearts pump blood to the gills and a larger heart circulates the blood to the rest of the body.

There is a central brain that controls the nervous system and the other 8 brains are in each of their eight arms which control the movements with the help of a cluster of nerves. This helps the individual arms to work individually yet work together toward the same goal. 

What does an octopus feed on?

Octopuses are predatory in nature and have adapted to the habitat they live in terms of their feeding habits and the type of prey.

The bottom feeders mainly eat crustaceans, polychaete worms, and other molluscs like whelks and clams. The open sea octopuses mainly fed on prawns, fish, and other cephalopods.

The prey that the octopuses do not feed on are moon snails since they are too large and limpets, rock scallops, chitons, and abalone because they are too securely fixed to the rock.

Is octopus edible to humans?

Octopus has been in the culinary scene for a long time in many countries where octopuses are available. The octopus can be grilled, sauteed, pickled, deep-fried, or roasted to have that buttery, soft and flavorful taste.

One should be careful when cooking the octopus, overcooking the octopus can make the meat really rubbery and chewy. Octopus has many essential vitamins and minerals which provide for more than 20 % of the daily value for zinc, iron, selenium, and vitamin B12.

Octopus is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Octopus is also a healthy source of lean protein that is low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates and high in amino acids, and trace minerals.

Is it safe to eat an Octopus?

Even though the octopus contains a lot of beneficial nutrients, there are few health concerns in consuming octopus by humans.

High salt content

Octopus meat is generally salty with about 25% of the daily value of salt in one serving without adding salt during cooking.

Since the high intake of salt is associated with high blood pressure and heart disease, the consuming octopus can be concerning to those who already have blood pressure issues.

Mercury content

Most seafood is exposed to high mercury and octopuses are no exception. People who are at risk of mercury exposure such as pregnant and breastfeeding women and small children should avoid eating octopus.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “what animals eat octopus?”. We also learned more about the octopus, its habitat, and its feeding habits.

Reference

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