What Do Lobsters Eat?

Lobsters eat fish, worms, mollusks, other crustaceans, plants, sea urchins and snails. They are omnivores, meaning they consume both plant and animal life. Lobsters prefer to hunt and eat live prey but do scour the ocean floor for dead sea creatures when necessary. Some deep-sea lobsters scavenge for large, dead animals such as whales.

Lobsters use their powerful claws to hunt for small fish. Their versatile claws are also excellent tools for grabbing and crushing small sea creatures like clams, sea urchins and snails. Some warm-water species don’t have claws.

Lobsters that are kept in captivity have been known to eat each other, but this is very rare in the wild. In 2012, wild Maine lobsters were observed participating in cannibalism. It’s believed that this was due to rapidly growing lobster populations caused by decreasing natural predators in the area.

Although lobster skin has been found in the stomachs of wild lobsters, that’s not always evidence of cannibalism, as lobsters shed their skin once per year and then eat the skin afterwards. After shedding their exoskeletons, lobsters are soft and vulnerable to predators, including humans who prize soft-shelled lobsters as a delicacy.