Cephalopod Diet: Do Octopuses Eat Crabs?

do octopuses eat crabs

Octopuses are some of the most fascinating animals in the ocean. They are highly intelligent and have some amazing defenses to deter predators.

Octopuses feed mainly on clams, snails, small fish, and more. But what about crabs, do Octopuses eat crabs?

Yes, Octopuses certainly do eat crabs. They paralyze crabs by pinning them down with their tentacles, flipping them over, and then penetrating their soft underbelly before eating them. Gross, I know!

Do Octopuses Actually Eat Crabs?

Octopuses LOVE to eat crabs, they are up there with their favorite food. Some Octopuses will go so far as to steal crabs from crab fishing nets, risking their own lives.

These cephalopods are super intelligent and have large brains in proportion to their body. This allows them to take calculated risks in order to secure a meal.

Although Octopuses are prey for many other species, such as Sharks, Dolphins, and Eels, they too are also effective hunters that use all types of methods to catch their prey.

How Do Octopuses Eat Crabs?

The way Octopuses consume crabs is a little bit barbaric. First, they will pounce at an unsuspecting crab and immediately pull it in towards its mouth using its suction tentacles.

It’s important that the Octopus catches the crab off-guard, as it doesn’t want to take a snip from the crab’s large claws.

After all, this is one of the softest animals in the animal kingdom taking on one of the hardest, so it needs to be a calculated attack.

They then paralyze their prey by injecting poisonous venom into the crab, using their sharp, parrot-like beak.

This bite needs to hit the crab’s only soft part, which is the membrane where the hard parts meet, allowing the venom to enter the crab.

All Octopuses are venomous, with toxicity depending on the species of Octopus. Once the crab is paralyzed, the muscles of the crab are slowly dissolved, making it soft and mushy inside.

The Octopus then pulls the shell open and begins to suck out the liquified flesh, leaving behind a perfectly clean shell.

Gross, right?

What Type Of Crabs Do Octopuses Eat?

Octopuses will consume a wide variety of crabs. When they are first born, they eat larval crabs, and as they grow their selection broadens.

Crabs are a favorite dish for Octopuses, they will quite literally go crazy in order to get at them and even risk their own lives.

The size of the Octopus also depends on the species of crabs that are on the menu, with the Giant Pacific Octopus even taking on lobsters.

Below are some of the crabs that are on an Octopuses menu:

  • Larval crabs
  • Mud crabs
  • Spider crabs
  • Fiddler crabs
  • Ghost crabs
  • Hermit Crabs

How Long Does It Take An Octopus To Eat A Crab?

Once the crab is in the sticky grip of an Octopus, it can take as little as 2 – 3 minutes for the venom to work and the crab to be sucked up.

Octopuses don’t mess around with their favorite dish and will consume the crab as quickly as possible before moving on to hunt for more.

How Does An Octopus Stay Out Of The Crabs Claws?

Octopuses have evolved over many years, and they have mastered the art of hunting crabs without getting nipped.

They strike at just the right time so that they can immediately get behind the crab out of the way of its claws.

Then because of their size are able to overpower the crab and quickly inject it with venom, immediately paralyzing the crab.

With Octopuses having eight tentacles that are muscle and have suction on them, they can pull the claw in and inject it in the blink of an eye.

Most Octopuses can simply strong-arm a crab and force it into submission. Crabs really don’t have much defense when trying to fight off a large Octopus.

What Else Do Octopuses Eat?

Octopuses are opportunistic feeders that feed on a variety of marine life. They typically eat Crabs, small Fish, Clams, Snails, and even other Octopuses.

Most species of octopuses live in dens, so when wondering prey pass by the entrance, they will be quickly grabbed by one of their eight sticky tentacles.

The toxins inside Octopuses allow them to paralyze their prey before they consume it, giving them the ability to capitalize on many different types of prey.

Final Thoughts

So, do Octopuses eat crabs? Yes, they are their favorite food source.

Octopuses are incredibly intelligent animals that regularly hunt and eat crabs. They pounce on unsuspecting crabs and then inject them with venom to leave them paralyzed.

The venom then liquefies the crab from the inside before the Octopus then proceeds to suck it out of its shell.

Octopuses eat a wide variety of crabs, with the type of crab the Octopus feeds on being determined by the size of the Octopus.

Larger Octopuses such as the Giant Pacific Octopus are able to tackle almost all species of crabs.

Hopefully, this post has been useful and you’ve learned something new today about Octopuses.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share it with others that may find it valuable.