How Does an Octopus Feed?


Quick Answer

Octopuses are carnivores that feed on crabs, clams, squid and fish by catching their prey and then returning to their dens to consume it. A variety of methods are used to extract the edible portion of their prey from a shell, such as pulling it apart with their appendages, using the beaks at the center of their arms to crush it or drilling into the shell and injecting a paralyzing venom into a still-living meal. After an octopus consumes its prey, it will leave the skeletal remains, called "middens," outside its den.

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Full Answer

An octopus uses a variety of methods to acquire food, such as chasing and stalking, or in an ambush strategy, emerging suddenly out of a camouflaged location and attacking its prey. Their hunting methods are based on a keen visual sense that also enables them to use their four pairs of arms in well-coordinated movements.

Octopuses are believed to be the most intelligent form of invertebrate life, but the exact extent of their observational learning capabilities is a much-debated topic among biologists. Experiments involving mazes and problem-solving have shown that they possess both long-term and short-term memories. Some laboratory tests have demonstrated that octopuses can be easily trained to differentiate between a variety of patterns and shapes. People who have kept an octopus as a pet have sometimes been surprised to discover that its problem-solving abilities enabled it to escape from its tank and climb into another one to seek food.

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