- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids


Cuttlefish Facts

Size 6-20 inch (15-50 cm)
Speed Unknown
Weight 6.6-23 lb (3-10.5 kg)
Lifespan 1-3 years
Food Crabs, prawns, fish
Predators Fish, sharks, other cuttlefish
Habitat In oceans worldwide
Class Cephalopoda
Subclass Coleoidea
Order Sepiida
Scientific name Sepiida
Characteristics Intelligent cephalopods

Main Characteristics

The cuttlefish belongs to the cephoalopoda family, but it distinctly differs from the common octopus in its appearance. The cuttlefish has a longish, wedge-shaped body and 10 tentacles, which is two more than the octopus with its eight tentacles. Other than octopuses and squids, cuttlefish rarely swim across the ocean freely but stay near the ground most of the time to look for fish and crabs.


The Cuttlefish – an Unusual Kind of Bird

Like most other octopus species, cuttlefish have a horn-like bill that resembles the beak of a parrot. Unlike the rest of its body, the bill is hard and strong.

Cuttlefish Cuttlefish - Photo: David Litman/Shutterstock


How Do Cuttlefish Hunt Their Prey?

Cuttlefish are ambush predators. They do not follow other animals but look for a cozy spot and wait for delicious food to pass by. Then the cuttlefish start to glow – as if it was an electric advertising panel (!). The light is moving in waves along their bodies and confuses the victim. Now, the cuttlefish only has to be quick enough to catch its prey as long as it is distracted.

Cuttlefish Cuttlefish - Photo: Rich Carey/Shutterstock

Anatomy and Appearance

The Smallest Cuttlefish

One of the smallest cuttlefish is the Sepia typica with a body length of just 1.4 inch (36 mm). This is a bit smaller than a roll of sellotape.

The Biggest Cuttlefish

The Australian giant cuttlefish can be up to 20 inch (50 cm) long and weigh more than 23 lb (10.5 kg).

Cuttlefish Cuttlefish - Photo: TheRealRueckert/Shutterstock

Enemies and Threats

Males Disguise Themselves as Females

If a male cuttlefish has won the fight for a female, it proudly guards it. But the losers do not give up. They have developed a clever trick to pass the male unnoticed. They simply disguise themselves as females. For this they change their color and hide a few of their tentacles (males have four pairs of tentacles, females only three). This enables them to pass the stronger male cuttlefish and get to the female. Clever, isn’t it?


Cuttlefish do not only glow when catching prey. They also do this to attract females. The tallest males have the best chances. After fertilization, the female cuttlefish lays about 200 little eggs.

Cuttlefish Cuttlefish - Photo: Kristina Vackova/Shutterstock


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