Largest Giant Squid--Mystery Of The Deep

Largest giant squid are the most mysterious animals. No live giant squid has ever been captured, but body parts turn up all the time.

Giant squids are one of the earth's most mysterious animals and for a very good reason: No live giant squid has ever been captured. Scientists have only studied body parts of giant squids that wash up on shores, turn up in the stomachs of sperm whales, or are caught in the nets of commercial fishermen.

Scientists know that giant squids live in very deep water, probably as far down as three thousand feet. The giant squid probably can't survive for long on the surface.

All throughout history, sailors have reported sea creatures. One of these imagined creatures, the kraken, was probably based on a giant squid. The kraken was of immense proportions, with terrible grasping arms, thousands of suckers, and sharp, powerful beaks. That is precisely what a giant squid looks like, and now we know that these creatures were not fabulous sea monsters. They are just giant squid.

Sperm whales often bear circular scars that giant squid inflict with their powerful suckers. Sperm whales have had giant squid in their stomachs, but eyewitness reports prove that the whale does not always get to eat the squid. Sometimes, it is the other way around.

Two men in a lighthouse off the coast of Maine reported seeing a giant squid attack a whale. The fight lasted for hours, and the squid finally triumphed. Sometimes, neither triumphs. Fishermen found an adult sperm whale with a giant squid's tentacle still wrapped around it. When scientists examined the whale, they found the squid's head in his stomach.

Unfortunately for scientists, but good for people, humans do not meet up with giant squid very often. During World War 2, a giant squid attacked sailors. Their ship sank, and they drifted in the sea in a small lifeboat, hoping for rescue. In the middle of the night, a huge tentacle came over the side and grabbed a sailor. His friends pulled it off before it dragged him over the side of the lifeboat, but the suckers of the gigantic tentacle put circular wounds on the sailor's chest. The giant squid stalked them all night long, and sadly, pulled another sailor overboard and ate him.

In the nineteen thirties, giant squid three times attacked the Brunswick, a Norwegian navy tanker. In each case, the attack was deliberate: The squid pulled alongside the ship, paced it, then suddenly turned and wrapped its tentacles around the hull.

The encounters were fatal for all of the squid: They couldn't get a good grip on the ship's steel surface, slid off, and fell into the ship's propellers. Researchers can only speculate that there was something about the ship that reminded the giant squid of a sperm whale.

Scientists have never observed the giant squid in its natural habitat, and many are still trying. Researchers are launching new expeditions every year. They aren't sure how many of the squid exist, or where the giant squid may live. The giant squid is one of the most elusive creatures of the deep, but scientists will continue to search until they unravel its mysteries.

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