Ah, the giant squid. A creature of myth and folklore. So often feared, so rarely seen ...
Waaaiiit a minute ... Okay, that wasn't a real squid! But it is true that a group of three divers in Wellington, New Zealand, were recently surprised by the body of a giant squid that washed up on the beach. It measured 4.5 metres (14.7 feet) long, which easily dwarfed them as they posed for a photograph.
Rare ... but not unheard of
As we mentioned, the giant squid is not an easy thing to come across. They are a deep ocean creature—their normal habitat is covered in darkness and next-to-impossible for humans to visit. So we have to be pretty lucky to come across one.
It does happen from time to time, usually when one washes up on shore in the same way it did this past Saturday in New Zealand. Scientists also know a bit about giant squid from investigating the bellies of their biggest predators—sperm whales. Of course, every so often people get really lucky. The best recent example was in 2015 when a giant squid ventured into shallow waters in Toyama Bay, Japan.
Even with sightings like this, there is so much left to learn. Scientists estimates that adult giant squid can reach sizes of over 14 metres (42 feet)—about the length of a school bus and three times the length of the one found last weekend. They don't call it giant for nothing!