What Do Cuttlefish Eat? The 10 Favorites of their Diet

cuttlefish vs squid
David A Litman/Shutterstock.com

Written by Cindy Rasmussen

Updated: December 26, 2021

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What Do Cuttlefish Eat
Cuttlefish eat mostly crustaceans, shellfish, shrimp, and marine worms!

“Cuttlefish”, sounds like a cute little fish with big cartoon eyes, right? Not the case. The cuttlefish is actually more like an octopus than a fish. It is a cephalopod and has eight arms plus two long tentacles that can shoot out when trying to catch prey. One of the most unique features of the cuttlefish is that they possess an adaptation that allows them to change color, just like chameleons, and their pattern! What do these mysterious creatures eat?

How do Cuttlefish hunt and eat?

Craziest Animal Adaptations: Cuttlefish

The Common Cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) is generally found in the eastern North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Cuttlefish produce clouds of ink when they feel threatened.

We know many birds that have beaks but sea creatures with a beak? The cuttlefish actually has a beak tucked under all those arms. They use this beak to tear open clams and shells to access the meat inside. Cuttlefish also use their two hidden tentacles to snatch prey as they swim by. They pull the prey in towards their body and use their beaks to provide a powerful bite. If the force of their bite doesn’t kill the prey the venom in the bite will. Another technique cuttlefish use to hunt is to use their color-changing/pattern-changing properties to camouflage themselves and then surprise passing prey.

What do Cuttlefish eat?



If it were up to the cuttlefish they would have an All You Can Eat Shrimp Buffet! Researchers have found that they prefer shrimp over other foods like crabs. According to a study done at the University of Cambridge, researchers tested twenty-nine cuttlefish. Throughout the day they made crab and shrimp available, putting the food the same distance from the cuttlefish. All of the cuttlefish chose to eat the shrimp first! Although they prefer shrimp they won’t shy away from crabs, small fish, and prawn. They will also eat smaller octopi, snails and muscles.

A complete list of what Cuttlefish eat:

  • Crustaceans
  • Small fish
  • Crabs
  • Shrimp
  • Prawn
  • Octopus
  • Mollusks
  • Worms
  • Shellfish
  • Other cuttlefish

What eats Cuttlefish?

Cuttlefish are not large like octopi, the Common Cuttlefish is around 19 inches long. So they are preyed on by many sea animals including fish, sharks, dolphins and seals. Another predator is other cuttlefish. They have been known to eat juvenile cuttlefish and cuttlefish from different species.

Who competes with Cuttlefish for food?

Giant Pacific Octopus

Octopus compete with cuttlefish for food

Other cephalopods like the octopus and squid have similar diets as the cuttlefish. The octopus hunts at night and traps animals with their tentacles and large web between the tentacles. Octopi also have venom in their beaks. Squid also hunt at night and are looking for small fish, oysters and crab. Researchers have found that cuttlefish are equipped to hunt at night and in the day. Night hunting is another time the cuttlefish uses its camouflage technique to their advantage.

Are Cuttlefish dangerous to humans?

It is very rare for humans to come into contact with a cuttlefish, so they are considered harmless to humans. They do produce venom similar to octopi, but it is unknown how much venom would be harmful to humans.

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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