A rare giant squid was captured on camera in a Japanese harbor, according to reports on Monday.
The squid was spotted on Christmas Eve by spectators on a pier in Toyama Bay. The giant mollusk swam beneath fishing boats close to the surface and it stayed around for several hours before leaving.
A diver went down and captured the animal.
“My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and got close to it,” Akinobu Kimura, owner of Diving Shop Kaiyu, told CNN.
He added: “This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me. I guided the squid toward to the ocean, several hundred meters from the area it was found in, and it disappeared into the deep sea.”
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The squid was measured at around 13 feet in length, which is comparatively small for the species.
Giant squids, part of the Architeuthis family, can grow to a maximum size of around 40 feet in length and females can grow to be around 33 feet in length.
However, they’re not the largest squids in the ocean. That designation belongs to the colossal squid, which can get to be 46 feet in length, and is considered one of the largest animals in the sea. Colossal squids (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) also weigh quite a bit more, getting to be 1,650 pounds, while giant squids weigh around a maximum of 600 pounds.
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They’re extraordinarily rare, keeping to the deepest parts of the ocean and are not often spotted in the wild.
The first-ever images taken of a giant squid in the wild were snapped off the Ogasawara Islands in 2004. The first video of the species came from around the same area in 2012.
In July of this year, Russian fishermen filmed a giant, or possibly a colossal, squid trying to eat a fish on the side of a boat.
“Its eyes are supposedly the largest in the animal kingdom, as big as a basketball perhaps. I mean bigger than my head, which is amazing to think about. And that’s so they can see in the dark,” Leslie Schwerin, who did a documentary on giant squids, told the Discovery Channel at the time.