Stress experienced during prenatal development—either applied to reproducing females (maternal stress), directly to developing offspring (embryonic stress) or in combination—is associated with a range of post-natal behavioral effects in numerous organisms. We conducted an experiment to discern if maternal and embryonic stressors affect the behavior of hatchlings of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, a species with features that allow for the examination of these stress types in isolation. Separating the impact of stress transmitted through the mother vs. stress experienced by the embryo itself will help clarify the behavioral findings in viviparous species for which it is impossible to disentangle these effects. We also compared the effect of a naturally-occurring (predator cue) and an “artificial” (bright, randomly-occurring LED light) embryonic stressor. This allowed us to test the hypothesis that a threat commonly faced by a species (natural threat) would be met with a genetically-programmed and adaptive response while a novel one would confound innate defense mechanisms and lead to maladaptive effects. We found that the maternal stressor was associated with significant differences in body patterning and activity patterns. By contrast, embryonic exposure to stressors increased the proportion of individuals that pursued prey. From these results, it appears that in cuttlefish, maternal and embryonic stressors affect different post-natal behavior in offspring. In addition, the effect of the artificial stressor suggests that organisms can sometimes react adaptively to a stressor even if it is not one that has been encountered during the evolutionary history of the species.