Colin's Cuttlefish


Nov 24, 2002
Hey Colin:

I just checked out the cuttlefish pics on your web page. AWESOME!!! :shock: Do they actually feed from your hand? I'm quite jealous. Hmm, may have to consider getting some. (If I can find them anywhere)

I have a Falco Hawk that will hop onto my hand to eat shrimp (when he's in the mood).
Hi Law

thanks :)

The cuttles did feed from my hand but it took quite a while to get them to do it. They were only 1cm or so long when i got them and they were maybe 10cm when they started handfeeding... I just sometimes wish that cephs had a longer lifespan :(

Hand-feeding cuttlefish

Colin, did you find that on a significant number of occasions cuttlefish would focus on the reflection of the food (transparent shrimp for my pets) at the water or glass surface?
It gave me the impression that they may use polarisation of light to see difficult subjects.
I did get a rather wet sleeve on one occasion when one cuttle decided to dive having locked onto my hand!
hi mike

yeah that was very common. Took me a while to realise to feed them towards the middle of the tank otherwise, just as you say they would attack the refelction in the glass front. It's one of those animals where they seem to express frustration too!

I'm not sure about the polarisation theory as physics never really was my thing, if you'd like to try to explain it a bit though??? :)

i put it down to the fact that they were always looking outside the aquarium at us and that was what they associated food with. IE movement outside the tank so they sort of expected the food to come from the front rather than from above.

I also noted that whether it was shrimp or anything else it would happen so not just with transparent foods. Any other thoughts?


I agree that cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) exhibit frustration - in my opinion it is the main cause of failure of hatchling cuttlefish to feed. I have always used 'river' shrimp as they are the best live food I can get (Brine shrimp are occasionally eaten but without great enthusiasm) but if they 'kick' violently enough to escape once caught, the cuttlefish may well fail to eat again and die within a few days. With more mature cuttlefish the feeding tentacles are projected much more tentatively the second time if they made a wrong contact the first time they were extended.
When a reflection is mistaken for an object the stalking and attempted capture is quite deliberate, and I often felt that the reflection seemed more real than the food (which was at the same distance but different angle and therefore well within reach and field of view). I had cuttles treat reflections at the water surface as real, hence the captured hand and wet sleeve - it shot high and found something TOO BIG!
I have looked up polarisation of light on www but am not sure whether reflections would be more or less polarised - it was just a theory that the cuttles might be able to detect and shew a preference for one or the other.

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