Stochastic resonance is the phenomenon whereby the addition of an optimal level of noise to a weak information-carrying input to certain nonlinear systems can enhance the information content at their outputs. Computer analysis of spike trains has been needed to reveal stochastic resonance in the responses of sensory receptors except for one study on human psychophysics. But is an animal aware of, and can it make use of, the enhanced sensory information from stochastic resonance? Here, we show that stochastic resonance enhances the normal feeding behaviour of paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), which use passive electroreceptors to detect electrical signals from planktonic prey. We demonstrate significant broadening of the spatial range for the detection of plankton when a noisy electric field of optimal amplitude is applied in the water. We also show that swarms of Daphnia plankton are a natural source of electrical noise. Our demonstration of stochastic resonance at the level of a vital animal behaviour, feeding, which has probably evolved for functional success, provides evidence that stochastic resonance in sensory nervous systems is an evolutionary adaptation.