In this guide, we’ll answer the question:
“What eats octopuses?”
First, you’ll find a short summary of what animals eat octopus in the ocean and then get a detailed list of octopus predators.
An octopus is a soft-bodied, eight-limbed mollusc of the order Octopoda that is grouped in the class Cephalopoda. Octopuses inhabit various regions of the ocean, including coral reefs, pelagic waters, and the seabed.
The average lifespan of an octopus is 1 to 2 years and is limited by reproduction. Male octopuses live for only a few months after mating while females die shortly after their eggs hatch.
What Eats Octopuses?
Animals that eat octopuses include dolphins, large fish, seabirds, seals, sea otters, whales, other octopuses, and humans. An octopus has many natural predators and falls prey to a number of species in the ocean.
“It is not unusual for bottlenose dolphins to feed on octopuses”, reports the NewScientist. A large octopus is a good meal filled with high-quality protein for the dolphin.
It is also easier for dolphins to catch an octopus than a fish because octopuses tire easily during a pursuit. And the preferred method of killing an octopus is to break the body and tentacles into smaller pieces by shaking it violently until it tears apart.
Some of the most common predators that eats octopus include large fish, such as sharks, moray eels, and conger eels. These sea animals are carnivores that eat anything that they can fit into their mouth.
Seabirds like petrels, penguins, seagulls, and albatross eat octopuses but they are not a large part of their diet because many octopuses live in the deep sea.
The most available species is the pelagic octopus that lives near the surface of the water.
Seals are carnivores that eat other aquatic animals such as octopuses. However, an octopus is not the easiest meal for a seal to catch, eat and digest.
A seal’s primary source of food is fish but they will consume just about any type of meat they can get in the water which includes octopuses.
Sea otters eat a variety of prey with the octopus being one of them. Earth Touch News Networks reports: “Sea otters in California’s Monterey Bay have also been known to eat the occasional giant Pacific octopus,” which grows bigger and lives longer than any other octopus species.
Sharks are the largest fish that kill octopuses with the most common predators being dogfish sharks, whitetip reef sharks, nurse sharks, and hammerhead sharks.
The majority of toothed whales feed on octopuses in the ocean, such as sperm whales, white whales, and beaked whales. Dolphins, which are sea animals that eat octopus already mentioned above, are also technically part of the whale family.
Based on lab observations, marine biologists have discovered that octopuses are some of the top octopus predators because they will eat each other.
Typically, this occurs for two reasons: when there is a lack of available prey in the territory and after mating the females often kill and eat the male mates.
Octopuses are eaten all over the world by humans and there are many ways to prepare octopus for consumption, including alive and severing body parts for particular dishes.
The countries that eat the most octopus include Japan, Korea, Maldives, Mauritius, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States.
What Do Octopus Eat?
Octopuses are also predators that must prey on other animals to survive.
You can visit our other guide on what do octopuses eat to find out more about what these molluscs feed on for nutrition.
Animals That Eat Octopus Summary
You now know what eats octopuses in the ocean and which species are the top octopus predators.
As you discovered in this guide, there are about 9 animals that eat octopus in nature.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.