Are Lobsters Scavengers? (What Do They Eat?)

In the wild, lobsters form an important part of the food web since they eat a wide variety of food items and provide a nutritious meal to many other animals in the sea (and some of us on land…).

Lobsters are omnivores and can function as scavengers in the ocean. Whereas they mostly eat living things like algae, worms, and other crustaceans, they do also eat dying or dead animals that they encounter on the ocean floor.

Lobsters are opportunistic feeders that will eat anything they can get. In the wild, they mainly eat algae, shrimp, worms, plankton, carrion and fish.

Their diet changes between seasons, as different food types become more abundant, or as they grow bigger and can handle larger food items like other crustaceans.

Where do lobsters live and what do they eat?

Lobsters are found in all oceans, on continental shelves, and in some large saltwater lakes. They are strictly saltwater animals and cannot live in freshwater like their cousins crayfish can.

They are bottom-dwelling creatures and prefer to live in areas with rocky substrates and plenty of places to hide. While lobsters can enter land, they cannot breathe on land for more than a few hours and will therefore rarely do so.

The diet of lobsters.

Lobsters live along rocky shores or coral reefs at many different depths and up to around 1600 feet (500 meters). They like to live near rocks, corals, and kelp forests because it gives them a hiding place from predators.

In general, the lobster diet is quite similar to that of crabs that I have written about here.

Besides eating other invertebrates smaller than themselves, most active juvenile lobsters will also eat seaweed, especially during times of reproductive stress.

Some adult males may also become cannibalistic when dealing with weaker rivals in fights over females during courtship rituals, which is the result of mating fights between rival lobsters.

In such scenarios, one or both participants may lose their limbs in battle, which will be eaten by the winner.

However, luckily for the looser, lobsters can easily regrow their limbs so they are ready for mating fights again a year or so later.

Why are lobsters omnivores?

Lobsters are omnivores because they eat both animals and plants. That means that they can act as both herbivores and carnivores, but they are mostly carnivores.

Lobsters eat worms, snails, crabs, shrimps, small fish, mollusks, and corals but also algae and planktons.

Lobsters show a range of feeding behaviors, such as hunting, trapping, and scavenging. They are opportunistic feeders and can switch from vicious predators to scavengers when needed.

Why are Lobsters Important to the Ecosystem?

As scavengers, lobsters play an important role in the ecosystem because they clean the sea bed for dead organisms.

They are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals, which helps to keep the balance between these two life forms in check. When they eat dead things they also help to convert and spread important nutrients, such as nitrogen, that help to fertilize the algae of the ocean.

Lobsters are an important food source for many larger predators such as seals, whales and other fish. This means that if there were no lobsters, these predators would have to find other sources of food, which could lead to them becoming endangered themselves.

Lobsters are effective “cleaners” of the ocean.

Lobsters are also a popular food source for humans. However, overfishing of lobster populations has become a problem in recent years as our demand for this delicacy has grown.

 This has led to a decline in lobster numbers and has put pressure on the species. It is therefore important that we only eat sustainable seafood so that we do not put any more pressure on this already vulnerable species.

Are lobsters Producers, Consumers or Decomposers?

Because lobsters need to acquire their energy from other living organisms, they are consumers and not producers or decomposers.

What Type of Consumer is a lobster?

Lobsters are scavengers because they eat dead animals. This makes them tertiary consumers as they will scavenge all types of animals.

Scavengers are mostly invertebrates, like insects, crabs and worms, that eat dead animals.

Where are lobsters in the Food Chain?

As scavengers, lobsters sit at the bottom of the food chain and are secondary consumers. Scavengers mostly eat other animals, including other scavengers and secondary consumers.

As omnivores, lobsters are both primary and secondary consumers.

They contribute to the food chain by recycling nutrients from dead animals, which would otherwise be lost.

Are lobsters Autotrophs or Heterotrophs?

Lobsters are heterotrophs because they eat other living organisms. Practically no animals are autotrophic because animals do not get their energy directly from the sun like plants do. That is, animals like the lobster cannot make their own energy!

What Animals Hunt and eat lobsters?

Predators of lobsters include fish like the cod or flounder and sea birds, sea otters, crabs, fish, and humans.

Humans are one of the main predators of lobsters!

As many fish are scavengers, the lobsters will also be eaten quickly if it dies.


Lobsters are generally nocturnal animals that hide during the day and come out at night to forage for food. They are opportunistic eaters and will scavenge for just about anything they can find, including dead fish, clams, crabs, worms, and even other lobsters.

Lobsters are some pretty fascinating creatures, and although they may seem scary, they are relatively harmless to humans.

I have looked into the diet of the lobster to explore what scavengers, or detritivores, eat. Scavengers can play an important role in ecosystems, and there are many different types of scavengers, all with different feeding strategies.

Lobsters eat ‘waste’ and are therefore called scavengers, or detritivores, and this is a major role of lobsters in the ecosystem!

See more about lobsters and their interactions with other animals, and each other, in this short documentary film!

Although many people think of scavengers as ‘bad’ for eating the garbage of other species, many scavengers are beneficial to ecosystems and help keep the environment balanced. Scavengers also clean up the environment!

If you are interested, I have written more about fish scavengers and decomposers of the ocean here on my blog.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and I do encourage you to take a look at my other posts on this blog!