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What do Octopus Eat?

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Octopus are soft bodied mollusks.  They do not have any form of skeleton, they do not have an inner or outer skeleton.  The hardest part of their bodies are their beaks which is the shape of a parrots beak.  They use this beak to squeeze through narrow spaces and to open the outer skeletons of crabs and shells of mussels.

Octopus have eight arms with suction cups on the arms.  Octopus also have ink sacs.  The ink is released when an octopus is threatened.  Octopus have three hearts.  Two of the hearts are used to pump blood through the two gills.  The other heart is used to pump blood through the body.

Octopus have a very short lifespan.  As soon as the male reaches maturity it deposits it’s sperm cells into the female’s mantle cavity and he dies.  The female lays her eggs and as soon as the larvae are hatched she dies as well due to starvation.

Octopus are found in every ocean.  They live in the depths of the ocean floor, near the surface and in seagrass beds and coral reefs.

What do Octopus Eat

Octopus are predators and feed on various prey.  There are many different species of octopus and each species feeds on different prey.

Small sized octopus mainly feed on plankton and other small sea mollusks.

Medium sized octopus will feed on shrimps, small crabs, mussels and clams.

Large octopus will feed on much larger prey like lobsters, a variety of fish, other octopus and squid.

Here is a quick look at their most common foods.

Plankton and small sea mollusks

The smallest of octopus, although very tough, only feed on plankton and small sea mollusks, as they are only a few inches in size they cannot feed on the bigger prey.  Plankton is very high in minerals and nutrition these small creatures need to survive.

Crabs, Mussels and Clams

Medium and Large sized octopus will feed on crabs, mussels and clams.  They open up the hard exterior with their hard beaks and then eat the soft fleshy insides, which contains a large amount of nutrients to sustain their bodies.

Lobsters, Fish and Other Octopus

The large species octopus will feed on lobsters, which they also crack open with their strong beaks.  They also prey on various fish species.  Octopus will also eat other octopus when the opportunity presents itself.


Octopus also feed on various species of squid.  They are vicious hunters and are very intelligent.  They can ambush their prey by hovering above it and then devour it quickly.  Squid are also from the same family as the octopus but they have an inside skeleton, the octopus however quickly devours the squid. The octopus’s intestines are designed with the necessary enzymes to digest the skeleton of their prey.

How to Feed Octopus

Octopus feeds on live prey they catch in the wild.  If an octopus is fed in captivity they can sometimes be fed frozen foods but must be fed live prey like mussels, shrimps and crustacean.  Octopus can be quite picky eaters when they are fed frozen foods.  They will rather starve themselves than to eat food that is not to their liking.

What do Octopus Eat in the Wild

Depending on their size, the habitat they live in and the availability of food variants octopus feed on live prey which catch with their strong beaks.  Their choice of food varies from plankton and small sea mollusks to crabs, mussels, clams, squid and other octopus.  Larger octopus will also feed on various species of fish and if they are lucky even dogfin sharks.

What do Octopus Eat in Captivity

Octopus are saltwater creatures and an aquarium with salt water must be kept for them to live in.  They prey on various species of fish and cannot be kept with other fish as they will eat them.  In captivity octopus must be fed the same food they prey on in their natural habitat.  They have to be fed daily and they prefer live prey.  The can occasionally be fed frozen food but since these foods were frozen it lost a lot of its natural nutrition.  Octopus are picky eaters and will most likely not eat the frozen foods they are fed.

What do Baby Octopus Eat

As soon as the larvae are hatched the will feed from a yolk sack inside the eggs they hatch from.  As soon as all the needed nutrients are sucked from the sack they will eat plankton within the den the mother made.

Baby octopuses grow very quickly and can double their size within a week.  As soon as they are strong enough they leave the den and start to stalk their prey in the depths of the ocean.

How Much do Octopus Eat

Depending on the size of the octopus the amount of food eaten each day varies.  The Giant Pacific octopus can consume up to 6 pounds of food a day. Octopus grows very fast and they gain weight very quickly.  If they consume 6 pounds of food per day they will gain 3 pounds of weight each day.

How Often do Octopus Eat

Octopus do not eat every day and depending on the type of species they only have to eat every four days.  Other species can survive for a week without food.  Female octopus will not eat for a month when they brood eggs, they usually die as soon as the eggs hatch due to starvation.

What is a Octopus Favorite Food

Octopus’s favorite foods are crabs, lobster and shrimps.  They hang above their prey and catch it between their arms.  Prey such as crabs and mussels’s hard skeleton is broken with their strong beaks thereafter it is sucked into the mouth.  The larger octopus species favorite foods are all kinds of fish and it also includes small sharks.

Can Humans Eat Octopus

Various cultures do eat the meat of octopus.  They are sometimes cooked alive.  Their arms are fried and are a quite exotic delicacy for some humans. In South Korea and Japan it is a very expensive delicacy.  However if octopus is not correctly prepared it can be highly toxic to humans and even lead to their death.

What Foods Are Toxic to Octopus

There are no natural foods that are toxic to octopus but humans use salt to kill octopus.  If salt is poured into the brain sack of the octopus it will die.  Many octopus have suffered and were killed by humans to be eaten as a delicacy.

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