Do Octopuses Eat Crabs? [Explained]

Octopuses eat crabs. These tasty creatures are a common source of food for octopus species. Octopuses also eat other types of sea creatures, like small fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. These are skilled hunters and they may hunt crabs in rocky crevices or on the seafloor.

Octopuses use their beaks and tentacles to catch and eat crabs. Some octopuses are so smart that they may also scavenge for crab carcasses. These little guys then steal crabs from other predators. Now, this is something really interesting and intriguing about octopuses.

Are you a sealife lover who wants to know the relationship between octopuses and crabs? Or do you have queries regarding whether octopuses eat crabs? Then you are in the right place. We have chosen this topic to answer all of your questions related to it. So, let’s begin our journey exploring the right information.

Do Octopuses Eat Crab?

Giant Pacific Octopus

Yes, it’s a big yes. Octopuses love to eat crabs. These venomous creatures depend on crabs for their nutritional needs. They also eat fish, crayfish, mussels, lobsters, shrimp, and snails.

Thus, we can say that octopuses are big predators of crabs. However, their way of eating is a little bit grisly.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, adult octopuses feed on crabs. They usually hunt crabs at dusk. Thus, these are the monsters of deep oceans.

What Type of Crab Do Octopuses Eat?

Octopuses eat various types of crabs. These may include red rock crabs, blue crabs, spider crabs, and Dungeness crabs. So, the specific types of crabs that these jiggly creatures eat depend on various factors. These may include:

  • The octopus species
  • The location and depth of the habitat of the octopus
  • The availability of different crab species

Overall, these crunchy crabs are an essential part of the diet of the octopus. This diet also includes shellfish and small fish.

The following table shows the types of crabs that octopuses like to consume:

Crab SpeciesCommon Name
Callinectes sapidusBlue Crab
Cancer productusDungeness Crab
Pugettia productaRed Rock Crab
Maja squinadoEuropean Spider Crab
Libinia emarginataCommon Spider Crab
Portunus pelagicusBlue Swimming Crab
Menippe mercenariaFlorida Stone Crab
Chionoecetes opilioSnow Crab
Paralithodes camtschaticusKing Crab
Cancer magisterRock Crab

Do Octopuses Eat Hermit Crabs?

Yes. Octopuses do eat hermit crabs. These types of crabs are one of the many prey items that octopuses feed on in the wild and in aquariums too. Octopuses are opportunistic predators. So, they can adapt their diet based on what prey is available in their environment.

hermit crab

Some octopus species, such as the coconut octopus, have been observed using empty shells as tools. These may also include those hermit crabs that can use tools and shelters. Octopuses may not exclusively rely on hermit crabs for food. They are certainly a part of their natural diet.

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According to the Pegasus Academy Trust, these intelligent marine animals hide in crevices and squeeze their bodies. They then suddenly attack the crabs.

Do octopuses eat spider crabs?

Yes, octopuses do eat spider crabs. These deadly creatures do not pay mercy on these crabs too. These crabs are more resistant and discouraging to their predators. However, some deadly and hungry octopuses will definitely eat them.

Monterey Bay Aquarium has also added this fact to its research. They said that Japanese spider crabs could easily be torn off from an octopus.

Do Pacific Octopuses Eat Crabs?

Yes, Pacific octopuses, including the Giant Pacific Red Octopus, do eat crabs. In one scenario given in the source, the octopus got into a fisherman’s crab trap. This hungry creature ate almost all the crabs. So, the Giant Pacific Red Octopus is known to be a skilled predator.

This octopus uses jet propulsion and killing ink to get the crabs at any cost. Minor injuries can also occur to the octopus while catching, dragging, and eating the crabs.

According to the NOAA Fisheries researchers, these Giant octopuses can turn crabs into milkshakes. They can clean the crabs neatly and skillfully. (Source)

How Do Octopuses Hunt Crabs?

Let’s see how octopuses hunt and eat crabs from the research of Abc.net’s article:

“Octopuses are equipped with venomous saliva to catch their prey. They use it to paralyze or kill them. They have a range of techniques for hunting different types of prey. For example, they inject crabs down the eye stalk, which instantly paralyzes them.

For clams, the octopus drills through the shell and poisons the animal inside, causing it to relax. It allows the octopus to access the occupant. Unlike other predators (such as sharks or snakes) that can swallow whole animals, the octopus can’t do this.

This is because its brain is wrapped around its oesophagus. The oesophagus is a tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach. Large mouthfuls would give the octopus headaches.”

A marine biologist captured a video of a dreaming octopus that was using its hunting techniques to catch crabs. It was rapidly changing its color. The octopus exhibits camouflage when the color darkens. It shows it has subdued a crab and wants to avoid detection while eating.

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The octopus’s ability to change color and texture enables it to blend into its surroundings. It helps them to avoid predators or prey. This behavior is an example of the octopus’s complex, intelligent, and adaptive nature. The footage provides a rare glimpse into the inner world of the octopus.

It is also showcasing their unique abilities and behaviors that continue to captivate and intrigue scientists. It is also exciting for the public alike.

How Long Does It Take an Octopus to Eat a Crab?

An octopus takes 2-3 hours to eat a crab. It finds a safe spot to eat or returns to its den. The octopus disassembles and cleans the crab piece by piece. It amasses the leftover parts, called “middens”. This process is fastidious and meticulous.

Octopuses take their time when eating crabs. Their precision and care show how skilled they are. It is fascinating to watch them eat. These are amazing creatures with incredible intelligence and unique abilities.

How Do Octopuses Interact with Crabs?

Octopus vs crab

Octopuses and crabs can have a variety of interactions. It depends on the situation and the behavior of the individual animals involved. Here are a few examples: 

  • Prey-predator interaction: We know that octopuses are predators and crabs are one of their prey items. When an octopus encounters a crab, it may try to catch and eat it. Crabs, in turn, may try to avoid or defend themselves from the octopus using their claws. 
  • Competition for resources: Octopuses and crabs may compete for the same food sources, such as clams or mussels. In some cases, octopuses may steal prey from crabs. Octopuses can easily drive them away from a food source.
  • Shelter: Crabs may use crevices or other small spaces as shelter. It can also be an attractive hiding place for octopuses. In some cases, octopuses may try to displace crabs from their shelters. They can either use the space for themselves or to access prey items that may be hiding there.

Overall, the interactions between octopuses and crabs can be complex and dynamic. It can vary depending on a range of factors. This may include the availability of food and shelter and the behavior of other nearby predators and prey items.

Why Octopus Is an Unexpected Ally in The Struggle Against Blue Crabs?

Octopuses are unexpected allies in the struggle against blue crabs. It is because they feed on them and keep their population in check. Blue crabs are known for their voracious appetite. They have become a major predator in the Chesapeake Bay area.

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It is leading to a decline in oyster populations. However, the presence of octopuses can help to balance the ecosystem by controlling the number of blue crabs. Octopuses are skilled predators and can consume a large number of crabs.

They can reduce the crab population. This can minimize the impact on other species in the area. This is an example of how different species can play important roles in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. It also highlights the complex interactions that occur between organisms in nature. (Source)

How Does an Octopus Decide What to Eat?

According to the article ‘Ocean Bites’, octopuses have a complex decision-making process about their food and dinners. They use a combination of sensory cues such as smell, taste, and touch to evaluate prey items.

Octopuses also have a strong preference for certain foods and will choose them over others. They can learn and remember which foods are most rewarding and will prioritize those when given a choice. Additionally, octopuses may use past experiences and observations to inform their food choices.

For example, they may avoid prey that has caused them to harm in the past or target prey that they have observed other octopuses eating. Overall, the decision-making process for octopuses is multifaceted. Thus, it varies depending on the individual and the situation.

FAQs

Do octopuses eat crab shells?

No, octopuses do not eat crab shells. They are only known to eat crabs. These intelligent creatures use their sharp beaks to break the hard shells and get the meat from the inside.

Do octopuses eat lobsters?

Yes, octopuses eat lobsters. However, it depends on the species of octopus and the size of the lobsters. Usually, larger species of octopuses go for lobsters dinner.

It’s also worth considering that lobsters have powerful claws and they can defend themselves. So, octopuses are very conscious about hunting lobsters.

Can crabs hurt octopus?

Yes. Crabs can potentially hurt octopuses. Crabs have a defense mechanism called sharp claws. Whenever they feel threatened by any sea species they use their claws. These claws can injure an octopus easily.

Conclusion

Octopuses are masters of disguise and they know how to get their favorite meal. These creatures can frighten and threaten the crabs. There is no doubt that octopus eating habits are quite interesting. So, if you ever encounter an octopus, stay away from them. They can be dangerous for humans too!

Hope you like reading about the eating habits of octopuses. If you have any other questions in your curious brain, you can ask us. We would be happy to answer your queries. Cheers!

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