Are Salmon Carnivores Herbivores or Omnivores? (Explained)

are salmon carnivores

Are salmon carnivores? When it comes to whether or not salmon are carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores, the answer is a little bit complicated. 

Salmon are technically classed as carnivores because they obtain most nutrients from meaty sources. In the endit’s safe to say that genus salmon are flexible eaters and can thrive in both carnivorous and herbivorous diets.

However, salmon also consume significant amounts of algae and other plant-based material, which means they can be considered herbivores or omnivores, depending on how you look at them.

Are Salmon Carnivores or Herbivores? (Salmon Habitat)

Is Salmon a Fish Carnivore?Salmon are unique fish because they transition from a life in the ocean to life in freshwater. The Pacific salmon species of salmon spend two to five years in the ocean.

When it’s time to spawn, they return to the freshwater rivers and streams where they grew up.

The Atlantic salmon species of salmon usually are anadromous, which means they spend most of their time in the ocean but travel up freshwater rivers and streams to spawn.

Before spawning, both fish species shift to a carnivorous diet of small fish, crustaceans, and zooplankton.

They’ll continue to eat smaller fish exclusively for two weeks while spawning, but then their diets will shift back to eating plants.

The reason for this is that their digestive tracts fully atrophy when they’re in the ocean. This ensures enough room for the salmon to pack in more fish when it’s time to spawn.

Do Salmon Eat Plants? (Salmon Diet)

As mentioned, salmon have entirely lost their digestive tracts during their time in the ocean. Once they realize it’s time to return to freshwater, their organs will develop again.

However, to survive in North America, freshwater, for an extended period, need to eat plants.

Plants are rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, all essential building blocks for salmon.

What Does Lake Salmon Eat? are salmon carnivores

While salmon are usually hunting for crustaceans, they will seek out other prey when it is available.

This includes alewives and smelt, which swim near lakeshore beaches during spawning season–a time where most fish would not typically feed heavily due to their Catalogues.

Also, note that these aggressive strikes indicate hunger rather than anger at another creature’s presence in one’s watery domain.

Salmon can be seen as both predators (going after different kinds of animals) and herbivores who eat anything from zooplankton up through small insects like grasshoppers or ants walking around openly visible within sight level below surface films.

Does Salmon Eat Algae? (Salmon Diet)

Salmon are also flexible diet-wise because they can not only live on a carnivorous diet of fish, but they can also live on an herbivorous diet of plants.

Salmons are not picky eaters, but they need to feast after spawning, which means they need to transition back into a carnivorous diet.

Salmon Diet: Salmon will eat algae and other plant-based material in freshwater. They will also eat zooplankton, aquatic insects, leeches, shrimp, and other small crustaceans in the ocean.

Are Young Salmon Omnivores? (are salmon carnivores)

When salmon are young, they are not big enough to eat fish. They will typically feed on zooplankton, a wide range of small invertebrates that inhabit the water column.

Young salmon spend the first few years of their lives in freshwater, feeding on small aquatic insects like mayflies and stoneflies. Sometimes they’ll eat some fish!

They will also feed on algae and plant-based material rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.

They focus on these types of prey when they are young because most fish would not typically feed heavily during this time of the year due to their heavy energy expenditures.

Where Do Salmon Live?

Unlike most fish, salmon are anadromous. This means that they divide their lives between freshwater and the ocean, being born in a freshwater river before migrating to seas around 125 miles away from where it is believed they mature before returning home again for spawning season!

What Does Red Salmon Eat?

Juvenile sockeye salmon feed on zooplankton (tiny floating animals), amphipods, and insects in freshwater.

But when they migrate to the ocean, their diet changes dramatically!

At this stage of life, all bets are off as far as what can be eaten goes; these fish will eat anything that moves, including larvae or small adults and squid sometimes and fish too.

Is a Pink Salmon a Carnivore?

The majority of a pink salmon’s diet consists of small crustaceans such as amphipods and insects. They will also eat small fish and other planktonic organisms during their first few years.

Does a Coho Salmon Eat Plants? 

The diet of a Coho salmon is very diverse. It will eat detritus, insects, and larvae at the bottom of the lake.

It will also eat fish eggs from other fish, small insects, and plankton.

In the ocean, it eats a variety of tiny organisms such as euphausiids, pelagic amphipods, and decapod larvae.

Do Sockeye Salmon Eat Other Fish? 

Adult sockeye salmon are mainly piscivores, but they will feed on other prey when given the opportunity.

Though, they often shift between different food sources and eat small crustaceans like amphipods and insects as juveniles. 

What Does Pink Salmon Eat?

Pink salmon are carnivores at all stages of their lifecycle. Pink salmon feed on small crustaceans, zooplankton ( tiny floating animals), and squid.

In freshwater, they can also eat other fishes like bass or halibut, which are found in lakes that have plenty of vegetables for them to eat!

What Kind of Fish Is Pink Salmon?

Pink salmon are found in large rivers. They are bottom feeders, eating insects and small crustaceans. They also eat salmon eggs and other forms of sea life such as clams, crabs, and roe.

Is Pink Salmon Really Salmon?

Pink Salmon are not seen as often as other salmon, but they are still part of the salmon family.

The pink salmon is known to be the smallest in size, and they are also the least abundant.

Each season, they swim upstream to spawn in freshwater rivers where both parents will take care of their young until they swim downstream and enter the ocean.

What food is fed to farmed salmon?

They feed on natural food in algae and other small fish in their environments. Farmed salmon are raised underwater to increase production rates through fish farming practices that use sustainable resources like feces from chickens that live better lives than ever before!

Salmon farming is a great way to keep Chinook salmon readily available year-round. They are not fed any hormones or antibiotics, just the best food possible!


Salmon are exciting creatures with an incredible life cycle. Depending on their environment, they have been known to eat both plants and meat. This makes them unique among fish and something worth learning more about. If you need to know where to find salmon and what they eat, keep reading our blog on “are salmon carnivores “for the latest information.

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