Beachgoers in Kommetjie, South Africa encountered a rare sight on the sands of Barrow Beach. It was the body of a giant squid.
A giant squid deep-sea monster over 5.5 meters long washed up on Barrow Beach
A giant squid deep-sea ‘monster’ over 5.5 meters long washed up on a North American beach
“It’s unbelievable. The body alone is about 4.2 meters long, plus the tentacles,” said Alison Paulus, a Cape Town resident and founder of a wildlife conservation organization. I’m sure it will last up to 5.5 meters”.
Since stories of giant squids first circulated in North American mythology, these creatures have fascinated many seafarers.
The giant squid is one of the largest invertebrates on Earth. Despite their huge size, they are not easy to detect for that reason. They are one of the most elusive animals on the planet because they usually live at depths of 300 to 1,000 meters and rarely rise to the surface.
The saucer-sized eyes are among the largest of any living creature, helping giant squids see under dark water.
A giant squid deep-sea monster over 5.5 meters long washed up on a North American beach
For centuries, the only information scientists had about these creatures came from studying the bodies washed ashore or the stomach remains of sperm whales, their natural enemies. giant squid. It was not until 2004 that people first observed this giant squid while alive.
The squid in South Africa washed up at night after being injured, possibly in a collision with a commercial boat or fishing vessel. “We saw a long crack above the tentacles, which we guessed was caused by impact with the boat’s propeller,” said Alison Paulus.
Investigation by wildlife experts showed that this was a female giant squid.
“I guess the squid was hit by the boat while it was at sea,” said Jon Friedman, a wildlife expert at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Friedman estimated the squid was about two years old when it died. Giant squid can live up to 5 years and reach a length of 13 meters.
By the time SPCA experts arrived on the scene, local fishermen had removed the squid’s eyes and tentacles. Much of what was left of the giant squid was chopped up and thrown back into the sea. Previously, experts sent some tissue samples to Cape Town’s Iziko South Africa Museum for DNA analysis.
The museum currently holds the remains of 19 other giant squids. Alison Paulus was disappointed that she could not bring the intact squid body back to the museum, but she was very moved and felt lucky to see the squid intact. “I have two young sons who love wildlife, so we came down here as soon as we heard the news to see it for ourselves,” she said.