Home and Life

Hunters of the Deep

 

A 19th century illustration
A 19th century illustration

 

The first sighting

The giant squid was first sighted in 1888, when a dead squid was found. Since then, it has become known as the ruling squid because of its size and majesty. The giant squid is presumed to live in the deepest reaches of the oceans, which explains why no living giant squid has ever been found.

 

Quotes on the giant squid

“Men may sail the seas for a lifetime and seldom, if ever, come in contact with the nightmare monsters that inhabit the caves and cliffs of the ocean floor. Gazing down at the slightly muddy water, the men of The Unicorn saw a squirming mass of interwoven tentacles resembling enormous snakes, immensely thick and long and tapering at their free ends to the size of a man’s thumb. It was a foul sight, an obscene growth from the dark places of the world, where incessant hunger is the driving force. At one place, down near the bulge of the hull, appeared a staring gorgon face with great lidless eyes and a huge parrot beak that moved slightly, opening and shutting as though it had just crunched and swallowed a meal of warm flesh.”

– William Outerson, Monster Mix
(source: Goodreads.com)

 

The anatomy of a giant squid

Could This Be How Captain Ahab Felt in Moby Dick?
Could This Be How Captain Ahab Felt in Moby Dick?

 

One of the most well-known facts about the squid is that it has eight arms and two tentacles attached to its body. These appendages aid the squid in movement, hunting, and intimidation. Attached to each arm, there are an innumerable amount of suckers lined with razor sharp teeth. These suckers help the squid to grip things such as food and rock. When the squid eats, it places food inside a special beak so the food can be chewed and digested. On the way to the stomach, the food passes through an organ called the esophagus, whose path leads right through the middle of the brain.

A little known fact about squids is that they actually move by jet propulsion. Jet propulsion is a process when the squid brings in water through a special tube on its body and spits it back out.

Perhaps one of the most well-known things about the squid is that the eyes are as big as volleyballs. Another amazing thing about the eyes is that they can move independently from one another. Scientists speculate that the giant squid uses one eye to search for prey, and the other for predators.

 

Display of the giant squid and sperm whale in the Museum of Natural History
Display of the giant squid and sperm whale in the Museum of Natural History

 

Sperm whale — the giant squid’s nemesis

The only known predator of the giant squid is the majestic sperm whale. The sperm whale will usually hunt after smaller squids because the squid will fight back. Scientists have found scars on sperm whales in the shape of suckers that implies that the squid fights very fiercely against its predator.

 

 

Other defensive and predative weapons

It has also been found that the squid can actually act like a chameleon and change its skin color almost instantly, enabling it to sneak up on prey and escape predators. Squid can also produce light from photospheres in their skin. They use this light to attract food to them, and flash it many times to scare predators away.

One of the most well-known of the squid’s defenses is that it shoots ink out when it is scared to confuse its predator. Squid are very amazing creatures that we have only known for a short while. Nobody can tell just how many undiscovered wonders there are out there.