This Is What a Giant Squid Looks Like In the Wild

Dashiell Bennett
The Atlantic Wire
This Is What a Giant Squid Looks Like In the Wild

For the first time ever, scientists have managed to capture images of a living giant squid enjoying a swim in its natural habit. A team of Japanese researchers managed to find one of the sea monsters in the north Pacific Ocean last summer, secretly gathering and bringing back the first true observations of the animal in its natural state.

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Humans have known about the existence of giant squids for centuries—they inspired the original, non-Liam Neeson-ized version of the mythical kraken stories—occasionally spotting them near the surface or finding their carcasses when they wash up on shore. However, no one has ever been able get a picture of one in the wild before now. The scientists from Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science used a small submersible vehicle to dive down about 1 kilometer below the surface and deployed some squid bait (another, smaller squid) to lure him in and get the video during the summer of 2012.

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The pictures don't quite do it justice, however, since the darkness of the water and the lack of other creatures or structures for reference, make it tough to get a true sense of the beast's size. This particular squid is actually pretty small for its kind at around 10 feet long. Giant squid have been known to grow to more than 40 feet long and are not to be confused with the colossal squid, which is a different species and the largest invertebrate on the planet. However, this footage has given researchers their first chance to observe the animal in its natural habit and possibly learn new secrets of its behavior and lifestyle.

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The full video will be broadcast on the Discovery Channel later this month.