How To Care For A Pet Squid: + Top 3 Reasons Why Squids Aren’t Popular Pets

Yes. Squids can be kept as pets. However, there are a lot of risks and challenges involved with having a pet squid, and it’s mostly advised that only folks who are experts at handling them should keep them as pets.


  • Can I have squid for a pet?
  • Where can I get a pet squid
  • How Much will it cost to get a pet squid
  • How to care for a pet squid
  • Top 3 Reasons why squids aren’t popular pets

Can I Have A Squid For A Pet?

Yes. You can very much keep a squid as a pet in a tank: they’ve been kept in captivity many times, plus they’re not prohibited or illegal anywhere in the US. However, having a pet squid isn’t advised for regular pet parents as there are too many challenges and engagements involved. But if you have expert knowledge and resources to fully cater for a pet squid, you have no issues whatsoever with the law; you can go ahead and obtain a pet squid.

Where Can I Buy A Pet Squid?

You can find pet squids on most online marketplaces, as well as on some pet store websites. Getting squids at physical pet store outlets may be difficult though, as these animals are rarely kept in aquariums in pet shops. It’s best to search for one online and order it to your doorstep.

Other ways to obtain a live squid are:

  • Order one from a marine supplier
  • Order a squid from any local or scientific cephalopod breeding program
  • Buy one from a local fisherman
  • Catch one yourself

Catching a squid yourself may be quite tasking (except if you’re a diver or fisherman).

How Much Will It Cost To Get A Pet Squid?

Depending on where and how you obtain your squid, you can spend anywhere from $10 to over $100. The above $100 range will mostly occur when buying squid from an online vendor or some other source where shipping is necessary.

How Much Will It Cost To Get A Pet Squid?

How To Care For A Pet Squid

As mentioned earlier, squids aren’t easy pets to keep; they’re best suited to experts. So if you’ll be having one, you should know all about caring for it. Here are some vital things you need to know about caring for a pet squid.

1. Know Your Squid Specie

Before you get a squid (or after you get one), you should know for sure what specie it is. This is because different species have different life spans. Smaller squid species usually live for about 6 months, while larger species live for a few years. Without knowing what specie you’re getting, you won’t be able to predict its life expectancy.

Here’s a table of the life expectancy of some common squid species:

Squid SpeciesLife Expectancy
Vampire squids10 years
European squids2 – 3 years
Bigfin reef squid11 months
Caribbean squid1 – 2 years
Giant Squid5 years or more

Apart from the life expectancy, knowing the specie before purchase will also help you plan on what size of tank to buy, as well as how much you’ll likely spend on food for your squid. Large species like giant squids will require a massive tank and lots of fresh food every day.

How To Care For A Pet Squid

2. Prepare the perfect tank

Regardless of what size of squid you’re getting, it would be best if you had a large tank. Squids are open-water creatures, so if your tank isn’t large enough or the water isn’t deep enough, it can easily jump out of the tank.

Your tank should be filled with seawater, and the water temperature should be about 50 – 60 degrees. The water should also be well-oxygenated.

To make a perfect tank, fill the bottom with a lot of sand (squids love to hide/bury themselves in sand), and also put in some rocks or aquarium decorations. Finally, put a lid on the tank.

3. Feed properly

The rate of food consumption of your squid will depend on its size/specie. Also, a premature squid will need more food as it is undergoing growth and development. Regardless, you may likely have to feed them just 3 or 4 times a week. Squids eat small fish, shrimp, and marine invertebrates. Endeavor to feed your squid live prey, but the prey shouldn’t be larger than the squid (else it may eat up your squid instead).

4. Carry out Proper Sanitation

Clean your tank and change the water at least once every two weeks. You can use a net to catch your squid and transfer it to another container or bucket of seawater before working on the tank. Endeavor to scrub the tank sides after draining the water and also replace the sand or rocks in the tank if you see dirt swirling around the sand. Before reinstalling your squid, ensure the water is at the right temperature.

Top 3 Reasons Why Squids Don’t Make Great Pets

1. They Are Very Sensitive

Get the water temperature wrong, or provide low-quality sea water, and you may just have a dead squid in your hands. Squids need a constant fresh water supply, so you need to replace the tank water frequently as well as keep the tank components clean or risk losing them.

2. Short Lifespan

If you’re looking for a life buddy, a squid isn’t an option for you. Even in their ideal habitats, squids don’t live very long. Most species live for 10 – 18 months. In captivity, they may love for even shorter periods due to their sensitive and demanding nature as pets.

Carry out Proper Sanitation

3. Bashing Habits

Squids have a strange ability to dash forward in water at unbelievable speeds (jet propulsion). They do this mostly to get away from predators. If you keep a pet squid in a tank, this natural escape instinct always kicks in at the slightest provocation or sudden disturbances.

Squids, when startled, will dash forward in the tank and end up hitting against the glass wall. Because they can’t understand the transparent glass in front of them, they’ll do this repeatedly, injuring themselves in the process.

This is one reason why squids in captivity don’t live very long: they can bash themselves to death. The only way to remedy this is to watch over your squid always to refrain them whenever they want to bang against the glass walls, or to get a large cylindrical tank.

Final Words

Squids aren’t the ideal pets for the average pet lover. They are too demanding as pets, and they are always stressed in captivity regardless what you do or how you take care of them. This is why they don’t show camouflage or luminescent abilities while in captivity. If you need a pet cephalopod, try getting a cuttlefish instead.

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