What does an octopus eat?

In this brief article, we will answer the question “What does an octopus eat?”, and provide information on how wild octopuses hunt, whether octopuses can be kept as pets, what baby octopuses eat as well as how an octopus hunts.

What does an octopus eat?

An octopus eats clams, snails, smaller fish, and crabs. Octopuses are primarily carnivores which means that they would consume animal matter to survive.

Some of the foods that the octopus mainly consumes would include crabs, sharks, lobsters, shrimps, scallops, and worms. Crustaceans and mollusks can be consumed by the octopus as well.

Octopuses are not that choosy. However, they do consume certain kinds of foods more which was stated above. Octopuses avoid creatures that have defenses such as abalone or scallops.

What do wild octopuses eat?

Wild octopuses would consume anything they find smaller than them in the sea. Benthic octopuses would usually consume animals present in reefs or coral beds.

Some of the commonly consumed foods would include worms, crustaceans, and mollusks. Crabs and lobsters are the commonly preferred prey.

Octopuses can also consume smaller fish, especially in the open ocean. Some species of octopus also tend to practice cannibalism.

Cannibalism would usually occur when the octopuses are bigger in size than the other octopuses. Some octopuses even attack sharks. 

What do pet octopuses consume?

Octopuses kept as pets would usually require live kill though they can consume pre-killed timing. Small fish, crabs, and shrimp can be consumed by octopuses. Pet octopuses need to be given food once a day.

Do not feed them too much as it can result in overeating. Foods that are not consumed need to be removed while cleaning the tank. Make sure to consult with a vet before introducing newer foods to the octopus.

What does a baby octopus eat?

Baby octopuses would consume mostly plankton. Apart from plankton, they can also consume sea stars, small crabs, and copepods. Baby octopuses eat a lot and gain weight. In a week itself, the small octopus can grow in size. 

Once the octopus grows in size, it would switch to the same diet as that of an adult octopus. However, there is a catch. 

Unlike adult octopuses, baby octopuses are very choosy when it comes to eating. Many baby octopuses, as a result, do not make it to adulthood and die of starvation. 

If you wish to keep octopuses as pets, avoid keeping baby octopuses as pets. Instead, go for adult octopuses.

How does an octopus hunt?

Octopuses have an amazing nervous system and vision system. This sense of vision can help them to observe both in the light as well as dark.

Octopuses also have a good sense of touch. There are neurons present in the tentacles of the octopuses which can help them to hunt too.

There are receptors present in the tentacles that can help the octopuses to know the taste and smell of the food too. The receptors can also help the octopuses track chemical matter too.

The hunting tactics of the octopuses would vary depending on where they hunt. If the octopuses are present on the bottom floor of the ocean, they would move by feeling their tentacles around the sand. They can also insert their tentacles in gaps or cracks.

Once they find any organisms in the gaps or crevices, they would immediately grab them for consumption. The tentacles can also be used to draw the prey closer to them.

Another way to catch the prey would be to charge towards the prey using the jet of water. Some octopuses use the property of bioluminescence to attract their prey. This can be beneficial, especially in deep waters where there is less light.

The prey would get attracted to the light and the octopus would consume them when the prey is too close. 

Apart from this, octopuses also possess toxic venom to paralyze the prey. This can help in making the prey more soft and tender to consume. It can prevent the prey from escaping too.

If an octopus has caught a clam, it also has the ability to break the shell by drilling into them. Octopuses are also smart and are known to possess nine small mini-brains which can help them to hunt their prey.

Some octopuses have the ability to camouflage themselves. The chromatophores present in octopuses can help them in changing color. It can help them in defending themselves against predators. They would usually hunt at dawn or dusk to catch prey.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What does an octopus eat?” and provided information on how wild octopuses hunt, whether octopuses can be kept as pets, what baby octopuses eat as well as how an octopus hunts.


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment