Please email or share this article!

What Do Octopuses Eat?

Octopuses are one of the most fascinating sea creatures found in the ocean. They are round sea animals with large eyes and eight long arms. Octopuses are known as the “monsters of the deep”. This is because they are carnivorous animals found deep in the ocean, which paints a scary picture. 

A fun fact about octopuses is that they have blue blood and three hearts! Octopuses do not have a skeleton, but they have beaks, and it is the hardest part of their body. Their beaks help them in catching food. Octopuses are predatory animals, and they feed on meat. 

Now, let us find out what kind of food octopuses eat and how they eat it! 

Octopus Eating Habits

How Do Octopuses Eat? 

When an octopus bites its prey, it injects venom into it through its beaks. This stops the prey from moving around, and the octopus can eat it peacefully. However, before swallowing the food, the octopus rips the entire animal apart into bite-sized pieces with the help of its beak. 

Octopus Size (small, medium, large) 

The diet of small octopuses usually consists of plankton, copepods, and other small mollusks. A medium-sized octopus feeds on shrimps, small crabs, mussels, and clams. A giant octopus feeds on various fish, squid, and even other octopuses.

Octopus Type (and its diet habits) 

Octopuses can be classified into two categories. These are the finless shallow-water octopuses and deep-sea finned octopuses. Finless shallow-water octopuses feed on fish, snails, crabs, etcetera. Deep-sea finned octopuses or Dumbo octopuses feed on shrimps, lobsters, etcetera. 


The location where octopuses live also determines their diet. Deep-sea finned octopuses live at the bottom of the ocean. So, their diet consists of sea animals found at that depth. Finless shallow-water octopuses live in shallow marine waters and are spread widely. They are primarily found in coral reefs. 

Wild Octopus vs Octopus in Captivity? 

Octopuses in the wild depend on their hunting skills for their food. They catch their prey with their beaks and feed on it. Octopuses held in captivity, such as in aquariums, are fussy eaters. You should provide them with the same kind of food that they eat in the wild in the form of live prey. Octopuses do not like frozen foods.

Common Foods That Octopuses Eat

The best time for octopuses to hunt for their prey is at night. This is because octopuses not only have excellent eyesight, but they can also taste their food before even eating it! Another fact about octopuses is that their arms are also innovative. So, they can eat their food with one arm and look for more food with another simultaneously. How cool is that!

Here are the common foods that octopuses eat! 

Plankton and small sea mollusks 

Planktons are tiny organisms that are spread across the entire ocean. They are found at the ocean’s surface and are rich in minerals. Therefore, they are easy prey for a lot of sea animals. Similarly, sea mollusks are also small creatures that are highly nutritious. They include snails, sea slugs, scallops, etcetera. They are found in coastal areas and deep waters. Since plankton and sea mollusks are small animals, they make tasty food for small-sized octopuses. Small octopuses cannot feed on bigger prey and depend on plankton and sea mollusks for most of their diet. 

Crabs, Mussels, and Clams 

Crabs, mussels, and clams make up the typical diet of octopuses. Crabs are strong creatures with a pair of claws in the front. They have a thick shell to protect themselves from other big animals with soft flesh inside. Mussels and clams have two hard shells and soft tissues on the inside. But their hard shells do not stop octopuses from eating them! Octopuses use their powerful beaks to break the shells of these creatures. They use their paralyzing saliva to stop their food from moving. This saliva makes their food even softer, and the octopuses eat the delicate fleshy parts on the inside. Medium-sized octopuses can eat these creatures easily. 


Lobsters are marine sea creatures found at the bottom of the ocean. They make delicious food for large octopuses. Lobsters also have a hard and robust shell with soft flesh inside. A noticeable feature of lobsters is their large claws on the front. They also have a unique tail, and they are rich in minerals. An octopus captures lobsters with the help of its long arms and brings them closer to his mouth. Next, the octopus injects its venom into the lobster to paralyze it. It then breaks the hard outer shell with the help of its strong beak. Finally, octopuses eat the soft fleshy parts and throw the shells away. 

Other octopuses 

Giant octopuses can even feed on other octopuses if they get the chance. Other octopuses include small-sized octopuses and medium-sized octopuses. Octopuses receive a significant amount of energy when they feed on other octopuses. However, capturing them is a challenging task. Although this seems very surprising, it is a natural process in the octopus world. It is also found that female octopuses eat male octopuses. 

Small Fish 

Small fishes such as anchovy, herring, cuttlefish, etcetera are found in massive quantities in the ocean. Small fishes are easy prey for octopuses to feed on. When these small fishes are eaten in plenty, they provide a lot of energy and nutrition to octopuses. Medium-sized and large-sized octopuses eat small fishes. Daily, finless shallow-water octopuses such as the Giant Pacific octopus feed on small fishes. 


The squid has eight arms and two longer tentacles with suckers. They have hooks on their arms which protects them from other animals. One of their biggest enemies is the octopus. Octopuses bite and inject venom into the squids, which stops them from moving. Then the octopuses attack and eat the squid with their strong beaks. 

How Does an Octopus Catch Its Food?

An octopus has several tools that help in catching its food. These tools include the beak, the eight arms, and the suckers on these arms. Octopuses can sense their prey with just the suckers present on their arms. Octopuses have a lot of ways to catch their food, such as luring, etcetera. Once the octopus finds its food, it drops down on its prey from above. It brings the food closer to its mouth with the help of its suckers. The octopus then injects its venom, through its beak, into the animal to paralyze it. The octopus then takes its food to its den and eats it there.


Do Octopuses Eat Themselves?

Octopuses do not usually eat themselves except when they are stressed. When octopuses are stressed, they become unhealthy, and bacteria and viruses make their arms itch. This irritates the octopuses and can make them eat their arms. 

Do Octopus Eat Sharks? 

Octopuses like to feed on animals that are smaller than them. But in some cases, they have been seen killing larger animals like sharks and dolphins for food. This happens rarely, but it is possible because octopuses are enormous and powerful. 

What do Blue Ringed Octopus Eat?

Blue Ringed Octopus feeds on small crabs, small fishes, makes, and hermit shrimp. It is a type of finless shallow-water octopus found in coral reefs. 

What Does Giant Pacific Octopus Eat? 

The Giant Pacific Octopus is the largest kind of octopus. It eats crabs, small fishes, other octopuses, sharks, snails, and clams.

What Does Mimic Octopus Eat? 

The Mimic Octopus can easily copy the behaviors of other animals. It feeds on crabs, fishes, worms, etcetera. 

Octopuses are incredible sea creatures, and they are intelligent too. They have such amazing features, making them one of the most unique creatures on earth. Octopuses are also an essential part of the environment. That is why we should know some facts about these vital animals! 

Leave a Comment