Few animals garner as much interest with fewer actual sightings than the giant squid. It’s a legendary sea monster that’s told us more dead than alive. We find a carcass washed ashore or pull a disembodied tentacle up from the depths of all the world’s oceans. Rarely do we get to see one actually moving. Oceanographer Edith Widder and a team of scientists only returned the first footage of a in situ giant a few years ago. Even then, we had to send robots into the abyss, loaded with distracting lights and bait, and hope for the best.
But now, in a random sighting just a few days ago, we have the best footage ever taken of a giant squid.
The video above shows a Japanese news report of the recently sighted squid, capturing what looked to be a juvenile — the biggest giant squid on record was three times larger — cruising Toyama bay. According to EarthTouch, the squid is indeed of the genus Architeuthis, though it is extremely rare to see one close enough to touch from land.
However, a giant squid sighting in Toyama bay isn’t rare at all — EarthTouch also notes that this is the sixteenth confirmed giant in the bay, possibly in search of food. Or maybe the young cephalopod was disoriented after capture in a trawling net. Or maybe it was sick. No one is sure what the giant squid was doing in the bay, though the encounter is certainly the clearest and closest footage of the beast on record.
Maybe the news team knew what kind of opportunity this was too, as divers can be seen swimming up to and touching the giant squid. I can’t blame them for getting excited, but this is a giant squid’s beak. And these are a giant squid’s suckers. And these are the marks they leave on whales. Yeah, I love giant squid as much as the next oceanophile, but maybe leave the identification to the experts.