What does a shrimp eat?
When shrimp are still small (smaller than 1 cm), they do not live at the bottom of the sea; but float around in the water. They will mainly eat small plants and animals that are also floating around in the water. These small plants and animals are called plankton. Shrimp, however, grow quite fast (after a year they are usually 4 cm long) and they already live at the bottom of the sea. They also have started to eat a larger variety of food and more and more often they search for other small animals as food. Especially when it is dark, they will search for small mud shrimp, very small shellfish and worms. Shrimp even regard a dead crab or fish as a lovely meal. Smaller shrimp and shrimp that have just moulted (exchanged their shells) also have to be very alert to make sure that they do not meet hungry large shrimp because they eat each other (real cannibals!). As you see, shrimp are not too selective. That is why they are also called the great cleaners of the sea. Finding food in the muddy water of the Waddenzee is a difficult enterprise for shrimp. That is why they do not use their eyes to find food but they find it using their great sense of smell. Shrimp do not have noses like many animals on land but have a number of feelers on their heads with which they can smell very well. These feelers also help shrimp detect where exactly the aroma of the tasty snack is coming from.