Thursday, Sep. 08, 2011

The Giant Squid

The giant squid has never been captured alive. These enormous sea creatures — scientists estimate that they may grow to be as much as 45 feet long and weigh up to a ton — occasionally wash up on shore but are more often found by deep sea fishermen who accidentally catch them in their commercial trawl nets. Giant squids have eight thick arms and two longer tentacles. Their eyes can be as much as 10 inches in diameter. In 2004, Japanese scientists successfully photographed a live squid nearly 3,000 feet underwater off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands. And here's a fun thought: these inky cephalopods might be the true objects of sailors' terror-filled tales or misguided affections, as sightings of merpeople and sea monsters date back hundreds of years. The most famous fictional incarnation of this legendary animal can be found in Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in which the crew of the Nautilus does battle with a nefarious giant squid that has tentacles as long as the ship itself. Actually, now that we think about it, maybe it's better that live squids don't surface very often.