Cuttlefish Basics - Keeping a Cuttlefish as a Pet

By Colin Dunlop - 2003

Discuss this article in our forums: Cuttlefish Care

When is a fish not a fish? Em... okay, er... em... It's not a funny joke, actually it's just a fact... cuttlefish are not fish!

Cuttlefish are much more closely related to garden slugs and snails than they are to fish! They belong to the same group of animals as the octopuses, squid and nautilus and like a snail they are all molluscs.

Cuttlefish are unique within this group in that they have a gas filled bone within their bodies which allows them to be buoyant... you may have seen cuttlebones before, sticking out from the bars on a budgie's cage? The bone is within the body part of the animal called the mantle and attached to the mantle is a head with eight arms and two feeding tentacles.

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A six-month-old captive European Cuttlefish

The cuttlefish is an ambush predator and a master of disguise. Its skin is covered with special cells called chromatophores, iridophores and leucophores that reflect light in many different colours enabling the cuttlefish to blend into its background almost perfectly. Some say it's like a chameleon but it is far superior in its ability to change colour and even the texture of its skin!

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Viewed from above this captive cuttlefish blends into the substrate.

A cuttlefish will steadily, using its camouflage, sneak up on its prey. Their preferred diet is crabs or fish, and when it is close enough it opens apart its eight arms and out shoots two deceptively long feeding tentacle. On the end of each is a...
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About the Author
C
Colin is a Countryside Ranger with a background in Applied Biological Sciences and joined the TONMO.com staff in March 2002. Based in one of the UK's largest country parks he is responsible for the care, conservation and management of many natural waterways, woodlands, bogs and forests across Lanarkshire. He is a published author on cephalopods and experienced in keeping them in the home; this includes cuttlefish and octopuses, and has advanced diplomas in both ‘Fish Biology & Fish Health’ and ‘Water Quality & Filtration’. Colin is a licensed amphibian worker and currently lives just South of Glasgow, Scotland.

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