Are Octopus Carnivores? What do They Eat?

Octopuses are carnivores, hands down! It means that they need meat to survive. They are predators that feed solely on other animals, such as fish, crabs, and mollusks, and not omnivores.

However, in their diet it’s also found that they eat plants and seaweeds too.

From this you can clear see that they are capable of adapting any situation. It also shows the level of excellence in any circumstances. That’s why they learn quickly and solve any of their complex issues.

In some cases, you’ll be amazed by their hunting capabilities and how they use their predator and prey strategies. So basically, eat shrimp, crabs, snail, worms and small sea stars. Besides, they can eat almost anything that is available around them.

Till now if you got enough curious about this and wants to know more. Then stay with us throughout the article. In this article, we’ll unfold all the facts regarding if an octopus is carnivores or not.

So, let’s get started.

Are Octopus Carnivores?

Octopuses belong to the Cephalopods class of phylum Mollusca. They are well known for their well-organized lifestyle. However, the most questionable fact about their lifestyles is that if they are carnivores or not.

octopus have stomach

Well, some of their behaviors indicate that they can live on plants. That is called Herbivores. Most people think of this because sometimes they eat plants when they can’t find them in sea animals. But it’s a controversial fact.

Besides, there are lots of evidence that claims octopuses are carnivores. Because they not only eat other small marine animals, but they also even consume others with teeth and shells.

On top of that, they got physical structures that are perfect for hunting marine creatures. For example, octopuses have large beaks and teeth that help them in attacking their prey. Also, they got help from their tentacle’s claws.

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That’s why they live on crabs, snails, and even on other small or equal size octopuses. These help them to survive in the sea. Typically, an octopus will swoop down and encircle its prey with its tentacles. And then bring the animal into its mouth.

Do An Octopus Love to Consume Meat?

From the previous discussion, it’s clear that octopuses need meat to survive. The reason being they need at least 80% protein from what they eat.

Not to mention that their primary protein sources are other meaty and fleshy sea animals. Also, eating meat helps them survive in the competitive ocean environment.

The adult octopuses will eat small fish, crabs, and snails. Whereas the basic food of a baby octopus are copepods, larval carbs, and sea stars. Even mollusks and worms are one of their favourite preys.

Most of a benthic octopus’ diet consists of other animals found on the bottom or coral reefs. These octopuses typically feed on invertebrates and crustaceans. And mostly they hunt on the open sea.

Moreover, you’ll be surprised to know that they even hunt sharks. Especially the bigger octopus tries to hunt a shark. Sometimes they even got successful in this hunting.

Additionally, octopuses sometimes perform cannibalism. That means they eat other fellow octopuses. It will happen when the hunter octopus is bigger and stronger than the other. Recently, this has happened very frequently.

Why Are Octopus Carnivores?

Octopuses are mysterious sea creatures. To be specific, one of the intelligent ones, that’s why many of their moves are quite strange.

For example, they are basically carnivores but sometimes can live on plants. So let’s find out here why they are carnivores.

First, look at their appearance, which is perfect for hunting prey. Their body has a succular shape, and the only defining part of their body is the head.

octopus

Moreover, to catch prey, they get help from eight tentacles. These tentacles are known as their arms. Each of their arms contains two rows of fleshy suckers.

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The interesting fact is that these suckers or suction cups hold onto prey. Even they can sense if there’s any prey around them.

And in the middle of these tentacles, there is a mouth. There is a sharp beak (teeth) that can crack any shell. So, if there are any prey with shells, these sharp beaks will take action immediately.

The teeth of octopuses not only help in cracking shells but also play an important role in stabbing and slicing the flesh of their prey. An octopus’s powerful brain muscle helps capture and hold its prey.

In order to get the nutrition, they need to live, octopuses must hunt and consume these little creatures.

Thus, they are effective predators, capable of killing enormous fish and other marine animals.

Are Octopus Predator or Prey?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. Basically, it is somewhere between predator and prey. The reason being an octopus needs a fleshy animal to survive. But they are also even food for other bigger sea animals.

Let’s see some of the octopus predators here.

Dolphin

Dolphins come first on the list because it’s easier for them to catch a fish than an octopus. They simply break the tentacles of an octopus into small pieces. That’s all.

Seals

These are also carnivores. That means they need other meaty animals to survive. But catching an octopus is not an easy task for them. They try to catch fish primarily. But sometimes they can catch octopus too if the situation demands.

Sharks

These are one of the most common predators that eat octopuses almost regularly.

Seabirds

Since many octopuses prefer to reside in the deep sea, seabirds like petrels, penguins, seagulls, and albatrosses consume them. But they don’t make up a significant portion of their diet.

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Humans

Octopuses have another level reputation as one of the most delicious seafood around the world. Japan, Korea, Maldives, Portugal, the United States, and some other countries are famous for consuming octopus.

So basically, these are examples of octopuses being prey to other marine creatures. Moreover, their arms and the nature of squeezing something tightly indicate that even they can kill small prey.

However, they use their long, bendy arms to catch prey, which they devour. Small fish, crabs, and other mollusks make up the bulk of the octopus’ food.

Are An Octopus Consumer?

Octopuses are primary consumer because they eat living animals. While crabs, lobsters, and other small crustaceans make up the bulk of an octopus’ diet, other food sources include fish, snails, and clams. But the bacteria found in octopus gut are decomposers.

Even though animals consume food to stay alive, the vast majority of the energy is dissipated as heat, with only a fraction being stored as biomass.

Final Thoughts

So, are octopus carnivores? If you read till now, you’ll already have the evidence showing octopuses are carnivores. But they can have plants if needed.

Basically, baby octopuses prey on small creatures like larva crabs, clams, tiny fishes, and sea stars. But the adult octopuses try to catch the bigger prey. Sometimes they’ll even perform cannibalism.

Every octopus species uses a beak like a bird’s to inject its venom. This will vary in potency depending on the species. Typically, they hunt at night, pouncing on their prey. And then holding it between their arms as they entangle it with webbing.

Their beaks are strong enough to crack the hardest shells of the food they eat. There would be little evolutionary pressure for the octopus to evolve venom if it only consumed plants.

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