What Animals Eat Seaweed?

What Animals Eat Seaweed
Photo by FrankWinkler

Seaweed might not seem the most appealing food, but many marine animals enjoy it as part of their diet. Seaweed makes up more than half of some sea creatures’ total diet! 

So, what animals eat seaweed? Here are the weirdest animals that eat seaweed – and love it.

What is Seaweed?

Seaweed is a type of algae that grows in the ocean. It’s an important food source for many animals, including some weird ones! What animals eat seaweed?

Animals Eat Seaweed

Here are the list of animals that eat seaweed, check them out and let us know what you think.

Sea Lion

Sea lions are one of the many animals enjoying a good seaweed meal. These marine mammals can be found near the coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and feast on a variety of seaweeds.

Sea lions use their solid front flippers to tear off pieces of seaweed they eat. This diet is relatively low in calories, so sea lions supplement it with fish, squid, and crustaceans.

Dolphin

Next on what animals eat seaweed is Dolphin. Most people think of dolphins as eating fish, but they will also consume seaweed. They have been known to eat more than 15% of their body weight in seaweed daily! 

Dolphins eat algae and other small marine plants but will also consume the occasional invertebrate. While their diet consists mostly of plant life, they are carnivores.

Beluga Whale

Humpback whales are one of the world’s largest animals, and they can weigh up to 200,000 pounds! Even though they’re so big, they actually consume tiny amounts of food.

They eat mostly krill and small fish but also like to snack on seaweed. When they eat seaweed, they often swim close to the shore to reach it easily.

Humpback Whale

Humpback whales are perhaps the most famous seaweed eaters of the animal kingdom. These massive creatures can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and grow up to 60 feet long.

While they mostly eat small fish, krill, and squid, humpbacks have also been known to feast on seaweed. Their love of seaweed may be because it helps them digest their other food better.

Penguin

On what animals eat seaweed, Penguins are one of the few animals that enjoy eating seaweed. They consume so much of it that their guano is often used as fertilizer. 

While most people think of penguins as black and white, there is a species of penguin that is pink! They live on a small island called Gough Island in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Albatross

The albatross is a seabird that can be found flying over the oceans near Antarctica. These birds have long, narrow wings that help them glide for hours at a time without flapping their wings.

And their diet consists mainly of seaweed! Albatrosses use their beaks to pluck pieces of seaweed from the ocean surface and then swallow them whole. 

It’s unclear how they digest this type of food because they don’t have stomachs or teeth. Scientists believe the seaweed travels through the bird’s digestive tract and comes out in its droppings as part of its urine.

California Sea Otter

The California sea otter is a marine mammal native to the coasts of California and Mexico. These otters primarily eat marine invertebrates such as crabs, clams, and snails.

But they also like to snack on seaweed! Sea otters have been known to eat up to 25% of their body weight in seaweed each day. 

Unlike many other animals that are herbivores or omnivores, these otters mainly eat so much seaweed because it provides them with nutrients found in terrestrial plants that can’t be found easily in their environment.

So why do they choose this strange food? It all comes down to minerals like iodine and vitamin C, which can’t be found anywhere else in the ocean!

Manatee

These gentle giants are known for their love of eating aquatic plants, including seaweed. They consume so much vegetation that they can change the shape of seagrasses beds!

Manatees use their sensitive lips when foraging for food to pick out the tastiest bits of seaweed. They can often be seen holding pieces in their mouths before munching them up.

Manatees eat more than just seaweed, though – it’s a staple part of their diet, but you’ll also find them feasting on everything from grass to algae. 

Their choice of cuisine makes sense considering that they spend most of their time floating on the surface and grazing underwater grass with just their heads poking above the water.

You can usually spot a manatee by its characteristic paddle-shaped tail when it surfaces and breathes air through its nose or blowhole.

If you do see what animals eat seaweed, don’t worry too much about it – these friendly creatures have been dubbed sea cows because they’re generally quite docile and shy away from humans as long as we keep our distance and make sure not to startle them.

Green Turtle

The green turtle is a sea turtle found throughout the world’s tropical and subtropical waters. Green turtles get their name from the color of their body fat, green, due to the algae they eat.

These turtles are mainly herbivorous, meaning they primarily eat plants. One of their favorite foods is seaweed! If you come across a green turtle while in the water, look closely at its mouth. It should be open, and you will notice little bits of seaweed sticking out between its teeth.

Sea Urchin

The sea urchin is a small, spiny creature that lives in the ocean. These weird animals are often found near the coast, feeding on seaweed and other marine plants.

Sea urchins use their sharp teeth to scrape algae off of rocks and coral. They are also known to eat small invertebrates, such as crabs and shrimp. While most sea urchins are harmless to humans, some species can deliver a painful sting.

Eel

Though they typically stick to a diet of small fish, eels will occasionally snack on seaweed. They have been known to wrap themselves around large plants and eat their way through the vegetation.

While most eels are not fond of the taste of seaweed, they will eat it if there is nothing else available. They often wrap themselves around large seaweed plants and use their teeth to nibble away at the leaves.

Shrimp

While most people think of what animals eat seaweed, they find it hard to believe that shrimp is one. These little creatures are classified as animals. And like all animals, they need to eat to survive.

But what do shrimp eat? It turns out that these creatures are big fans of seaweed. They eat the stuff in droves, sometimes up to 40% of their body weight! For humans, this would be the equivalent of over 10 pounds.

Starfish

Most people think of starfish as simple creatures on the ocean floor. But did you know that some species of starfish are proficient seaweed eaters? These animals use their tube feet to pry pieces of seaweed off rocks and bring them to their mouths.

On what animals eat seaweed, Starfish aren’t the only weird animals that enjoy an excellent seaweed meal; check out some other strange creatures on this list!

Lobster

These red-shelled creatures are often found near the coasts, in waters with temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. And while you might not think it, they eat quite a bit of seaweed.

A lobster will munch on algae, seagrasses, and other marine plants. This helps to keep their digestive system clean and functioning correctly. Seaweed is rich in iodine, essential for maintaining good thyroid function. 

For many people who live close to the coastlines, seaweed has been an essential part of their diet for centuries. This is because it’s easy to find and provides all kinds of vitamins and minerals that help make up for what’s lacking in the typical diet inland.

Betta Fish

Seaweed is a vital part of the diet of animals, and that is one of the reasons why we are looking into what animals eat seaweed. Betta fish is a type of fish that grazes on seaweed all day long.

They have a specially adapted mouth that helps them scrape algae off rocks and other surfaces. If you’ve ever kept betta fish as pets, you know that they love to eat seaweed!

Conclusion

Who knew that there were so many animals that ate seaweed while finding what animals eat seaweed? This list shows that you never really know what an animal will eat. 

While some of these creatures may not be the most delicious to us, they all have a place in the world and help keep the ecosystem balanced. So next time you see a piece of seaweed floating on the water’s surface, don’t be alarmed if it starts moving!

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