Animal Information

Cuttlefish aka Cuttlebone For Your Exotic Animals

Cuttlefish bone, or cuttlebone, is the inner shell of the cuttlefish, a kind of invertebrate mollusk. This shell is made of aragonite, and it is very appreciated in animal care thanks to its high calcium and mineral salt content. Cuttlebone has a slender and elegant shape that resembles a refined ship design, so it’s very easy to recognize.

Cuttlefish or cuttles are marine animals of the order Sepiida. They belong to the class Cephalopoda, which also includes squid, octopuses, and nautiluses. 

Cuttlefish have a unique internal shell, the cuttlebone. Despite their name, cuttlefish are not fish but mollusks.

The Taxonomic name of the cuttlefish is Sepia officinalis, and if you look up the meaning of the word “sepia”, meaning a brownish-gray to dark olive-brown color. This is because, at one time, the ink that this fish secretes was used just for that very purpose.

The pigment from this ink was used to manufacture writing ink during the Greco-Roman period in history from the 1st-century b.c. to the early part of the 4th-century a.d.

What Nutrients Does Cuttlebone Have?

Cuttlebone is made of aragonite, that is, crystallized calcium carbonate. This mineral has a beautiful lattice shape, which explains its buoyancy and absorbent power.

Apart from this huge amount of calcium carbonate, cuttlefish shell includes different essential trace elements with varying composition percentages in its composition. Among the nutrients of cuttlebone, you can also find calcium phosphate, It also contains calcium phosphate, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other mineral salts.

The cuttlebone is a magnificent dietary supplement for turtles and tortoises, especially when they are growing. The composition of turtles’ shell and bones requires an adequate supply of calcium, which the cuttlebone can provide.

In the wild, these reptiles naturally absorb calcium by consuming the shells of snails that they come across. Just like with birds, cuttlebone allows turtles and tortoises to sharpen their teeth and control their growth at the same time.

The mineral salts provided by the cuttlebone are also good for their organism, so it’s understandable why its multiple properties are so beneficial.

Cuttlebone can be placed inside the terrarium for a pet tortoise to peck at. For tortoises and turtles that do not live in terrariums, you can grate the cuttlebone onto its usual food.

Other Uses For Cuttlebone

In the past, cuttlebones were ground up to make polishing powder, which was used by goldsmiths. The powder was also added to toothpaste and was used as an antacid for medicinal purposes or as an absorbent. They were also used as an artistic carving medium during the 19th and 20th centuries.


Because cuttlebone is able to withstand high temperatures and is easily carved, it serves as mold-making material for small metal castings for the creation of jewelry and small sculptural objects.

Jewelers prepare cuttlebone for use as a mold by cutting it in half and rubbing the two sides together until they fit flush against one another. Then the casting can be done by carving a design into the cuttlebone, adding the necessary sprue, melting the metal in a separate pouring crucible, and pouring the molten metal into the mold through the sprue. Finally, the sprue is sawed off and the finished piece is polished.


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