What Animals Eat Oysters? (7 Examples)

Do you love to eat oysters? It is true that oysters are a delicacy and have been so since Greek and Roman times.

It is one of the few foods that can be consumed raw. However, if you visit oyster aquaculture, your idea will be that oysters are cultivated for pearls. But oysters are also farmed for their flesh.

Oysters are rich in Vitamin D, manganese, copper, and zinc, essential for healthy bones. So oysters can form a part of your diet but did you know that several animals love to eat oysters? Some of these animals are as follows:

The animals that eat oysters are:

  • Otters
  • Walruses
  • Octopuses
  • Starfishes
  • Bears
  • Pufferfishes
  • Lobsters
  • Whales
  • Bald Eagles

List of animals that eat oysters

1. Otters

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Sea otters are dominant animals found in the North Atlantic region. These creatures can consume several types of shellfish, including clams, mollusks, and oysters.

A sixty-pound otter can consume nearly fifteen pounds of food in a day, and much of this food consists of shellfish.

Otters also have an excellent sense of smell. They can quickly identify the existence of oysters and consume the entire mollusk.

Otters do not separate the flesh and the shell of the oyster. They have ravenous appetites, and they can consume their food whole by crushing the shells with their sharp teeth.

2. Walrus

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Walruses are known to consume several types of mollusks like clams and oysters. However, walruses prefer bivalves like oysters, and they have huge appetites.

Research shows that walruses can forage for food extensively and consume several types of invertebrates.

In the wild, they are pretty self-sufficient in finding food, and when it comes to consuming oysters, they can eat the entire creature.

When the walruses are bred in captivity, they can be given several shellfishes, which can include oysters.

However, as oysters are considered a delicacy, you will not find them a part of the regular diet of the walruses bred in captivity.

3. Octopuses

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If you observe the eating habits of octopuses, you will find that these creatures are carnivorous, but they primarily consume small crabs, clams, snails, and small fish as well as starfishes.

But in some instances, they are known to consume oysters. The shells of oysters usually offer resistance to octopuses. But they are able to penetrate it with much effort.

They can drill into the shells of oysters to gain access to the flesh inside. Unlike other sea creatures, octopuses cannot digest the hard outer shells of oysters.

This makes it necessary for them to drill holes into the shell of the oysters to suck out the flesh. This unique way of accessing the flesh of oysters is a specialty of octopuses.

Research and experiments had shown that even when the oysters were sealed shut, the octopuses were still able to drill apertures in the shell of the oysters.

4. Starfishes

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Starfishes are known to consume bivalves like oysters. But if you observe their eating habits, it is pretty slow, as is their movement!

A starfish will first latch onto an oyster before it consumes it. Then, it will consume the oyster with the slow movement of its stomach.

Finally, it will extend its stomach out of its mouth to consume the softer parts of the prey.

But if you think that the outer shell of the oyster can prevent the starfish from accessing the flesh inside the shell, you are mistaken.

Instead, the starfish will extend its stomach through the cracks on the oyster and slurp the soft parts of the creature’s body back.

So when you see a starfish latched onto an oyster shell, you can be assured that it slowly consumes the flesh inside.

5. Bears

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Bears are omnivores and are known to consume both plant-based and animal-based food. Bears are also excellent hunters, and they can eat fish, clams, and oysters.

Since they are opportunistic feeders, they will eat different types of food.

You will also find that bears can easily break open the oyster shells to access the soft flesh of the creature.

Like humans, they relish the soft flesh of the oysters, and they are known to enjoy oysters if they can gain access to them.

Oysters must be eaten when they are alive, as dead oysters are known to contain bacteria that can prove to be dangerous.

When we consume raw oysters, we ensure that they are fresh. The wild bears instinctively avoid dead oysters as they know these to be dangerous and toxic.

You will find that bears only consume fresh oysters. They break these open with their powerful paws to eat the flesh inside.

6. Puffer fishes

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Puffer fishes have powerful beaks, and they can wear down several marine creatures with their beaks.

You will find that these fishes can easily break down clams, mollusks, and other creatures that have hard outer shells.

The same is applicable for oysters.

When pufferfishes identify suitable oysters that can be consumed, they will wear down the outer shells of the oysters with the help of their powerful beaks.

Saltwater puffer fishers are more extensive than freshwater ones, and they are the ones that eat oysters.

These fishes will wear through the tough outer shells of oysters to gain access to the soft flesh inside.

Puffer fishes are voracious feeders. They can consume several marine creatures ranging from invertebrates to creatures with shells. Thus, oysters are suitable prey for these fishes.

7. Lobsters

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Lobsters can break open oysters with the help of their powerful mandibles and walking legs.

If you have ever observed a captive rock lobster consuming an oyster, you will see that it will first capture its prey with its mandible and legs before breaking it open.

Once it gets the oyster open, it is easy for the lobster to access the flesh of the oyster and consume it.

In the wild, lobsters can consume several hard-shelled creatures like clams, crabs, as well as oysters.

Even though lobsters are known to break open the hard outer shells of oysters to consume the flesh inside.

They are unable to consume the oysters whole, and can only eat the flesh inside.

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