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What Do Lobsters Eat?

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Lobsters are strange-looking crustaceans of the Nephropidae family.  These animals are found on the seafloor and are prized seafood to humans.  The Homarus and scampi lobsters are the most common lobsters for commercial use but there are also quite a few other species included in this family of sea animals.

As lobsters grow, they can change in color.  Atypical colored lobsters that are not the usual brown or green color are usually donated to aquariums instead of eaten.

A healthy lobster can reach an age of 50 years in the wild and they can become much older when cared for in captivity.

What Do Lobsters Eat?

The diet of lobsters can vary based on their species.  There are two main categories of lobster; the spiny lobster and the clawed lobster.  Clawed lobsters are considered a ‘true’ lobster while spiny lobsters are considered ‘false’ lobsters.  Here is a quick look at the most common foods these animals love to eat;


Clawed lobsters like the American lobster or Marine lobster love to catch and eat fish.  They will sit quietly and wait for small fish and fry to pass by.  The lobster will catch the fish with its claws using lightning-fast movements.  They will catch and eat any type of fish they can get their claws into but typically focus on small fish.


American lobsters and Caribbean spiny lobsters both eat mollusks.  These are invertebrate sea animals that include species like octopus, scallops, snails, squids, oysters, clams, and others.  There are 85,000 species of mollusks.  Lobsters love to eat a huge variety of these animal types that dwell on sea beds and lobsters will eat any of them they can find.


American lobsters and spiny lobsters also love to eat crustaceans.  These are hard-shelled arthropod animals like crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimps, prawns, krill, woodlice, and barnacles.  Lobsters eat a great variety of these types of animals.

Algae and other plants

American and European lobsters both enjoy eating algae.  Since lobsters tend to dwell on the seafloor, they usually focus on algae that grow in these locations.  There is a huge variety of these aquatic organisms and lobsters do eat most types.

Some lobsters do also eat other types of sea plants like zooplankton and flowering plant species.

Worms and sea urchins

Sea plants are a good food source for European lobsters and Caribbean spiny lobsters.  Lobsters will eat all sorts of marine worm types such as flatworms, roundworms, segmented worms, arrow worms, Arcon worms, and horseshoe worms.

Spiny lobsters love to eat sea urchins.  They will eat a variety of sea urchin types that they can find living on the sea bed.


Caribbean furry lobsters mostly eat shrimps.  Other lobsters like spiny lobsters and American lobsters will also eat shrimp but furry lobsters mainly focus on this food source.

Carrion meat

Lobsters will eat almost anything they find.  Most of them, and especially the spiny lobster, will feed on carrion meat they find drifting about the sea bed.  They will eat just about any carrion meat they can get their claws on.

Diet Variations

Lobsters are omnivores and therefore will have quite a few diet variations.  One of the strangest things about their diet is that they can become cannibalistic.  They will eat other lobster species and even their own young if other foods are not available to them or if the other lobster is small enough to catch and devour.

How to Feed Lobsters

Lobsters use smell and taste senses to hunt for foods.  They use their small antennae to locate their prey and will then catch their prey using their claws.  Lobsters will also use their front legs to sift through sand while looking for carrion meat or other prey.

What Do Lobsters Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, these animals can only eat food they find in their natural habitat.  They are omnivores and as such will eat just about any food they find drifting or swimming about the ocean or sea bed.

What Do Lobsters eat in Captivity?

In captivity, lobsters are fed healthy balanced meals that include various foods such as fish, crabs, clams, worms, and sea urchins.  They are much more likely to become cannibalistic in captivity out of boredom or due to the lack of natural foods.

What do Baby Lobsters Eat?

Baby lobsters are called crickets or chickens depending on their size. They can eat all the same foods as their parents but in smaller sizes.  Some baby lobsters will even adopt the ‘surf and eat’ approach to survive.  In this method, the baby lobster will grab onto a jellyfish and ‘surf’ it while eating the jellyfish.

How Much Do Lobsters Eat?

Different species and sizes of lobsters can eat different amounts of food.  They also eat more when they are losing their old shells because they need to replenish lots of calcium.  After molting their old shells, lobsters may even try to eat their old shells to help them harden their new shells faster.

A baby lobster will take about four days to consume an 8cm jellyfish.  Since they can eat carrion meat, you don’t have to worry about removing old food from the tank.  Just don’t feed lobsters to a point where the water becomes dirty.

How Often Do Lobsters Eat?

Lobsters will continuously look for food throughout the day.  They tend to eat often and for as long as the food is available to them.  They can also change their diet in times of need.  Typically, they prefer to eat at night and will hide from predators during the day.

Do Humans Eat Lobsters?

Humans do eat lobster and consider this food as a delicacy.  The bigger the lobster is, the more you can expect to pay for the meal.  You can also catch lobsters yourself if you have the right permits in place or if you are fishing in the correct locations.  Lobsters are however very challenging to catch since they live on the sea bed.

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