Wild Fact #364 – Don’t Get Hooked On This Squid – Colossal Squid

Colossal Squid

© Citron / CC-BY-SA-3.0 (Wikimedia)

It seems like it has been forever since we went for a nice ocean swim, so I thought we would head to the Southern Ocean for a nice relaxing dip. What do you mean that the waters off of Antarctica may be a little chilly? Hmmm… well, I think it will be worth the hypothermia to catch a glimpse of the amazing Colossal Squid. After all this is suppose to be the largest squid (by mass) swimming through the oceans today. Don’t you want to see how close we can get to one of these majestic creatures? Perfect! Let’s get moving to the chilly waters of the Southern Oceans.

The Underwater School Bus

As mentioned the Colossal Squid is the largest squid by mass with an astonishing weight of approximately 450 kg (990 lbs). All of that weight is tucked into a body that is only 12 – 14 m (36 – 46 feet) long. Okay, wait…that is actually pretty big! To put this into perspective, a typical school bus is about 12 m (40 feet) long, so picture your kids getting onto a Colossal Squid as they head to school. Perhaps, it wouldn’t be a great idea to get too close to this massive, swimming creature.

Colossal Squid

Colossal Squid Caught in 2007

My Grandma, What Big Eyes You Have!

Although this is absolutely mind-blowing, I think it is even cooler that the Colossal Squid has the largest eyes of any animal on earth. Their gigantic eyes have been compared to dinner plates. Yes, I will wait while you go to the kitchen to grab two dinner plates and use them as eyes. In fact, I encourage you to go and do this since it will give you a good idea just how big these animals are. The crazy thing is, we don’t even know exactly how large these animals can get since there have only be a few specimens captured in recent history. In fact, it wasn’t until 2007 that we managed to witness a fully intact male so there is still a lot of questions left unanswered.

Hooked on the Colossal Squid

If you do get close to this enormous creature, you had better watch out for their tentacles. While the arms of other squids, such as the Giant Squid, have little suction cups (lined with small teeth), the Colossal Squid has incredibly sharped hooks lining their tentacles. Some of these hooks can swivel while others are three-pronged, which most likely aid in their hunting behaviour and act as a self-defence mechanism.  Adding sharp objects to a 1000 lb animal just doesn’t seem safe to me so maybe it is best we save our Southern Ocean swim for another day.

 

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