Photos: Rare 7-Foot-Long Giant Squid Washes Up on South African Beach

© Photo : Instagram/ @alipaulusA huge squid was found on Long Beach in Kommetjie, South Africa
A huge squid was found on Long Beach in Kommetjie, South Africa - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.05.2022
Beachgoers near Cape Town stumbled across a rare find recently when they discovered the body of a dead giant squid, a creature that typically dwells in the deep ocean.
The discovery was posted on Instagram by Alison Paulus in a carousel of photos showing the great beast lying just outside the water’s reach, its tentacles coiled up around it.
The photos show a creature easily longer than the humans standing next to it are tall, and multiple times the length of the pint-sized child near it.
"It was incredible to see," Paulus, a Cape Town resident and founder of the wildlife conservation organization Volunteer and Explore, told Live Science. "The body was around 2.2 meters alone, then with the tentacles and arms I'm sure it would have stretched to 3.5 meters."
However, as big as this mammoth mollusk was, it’s just a fraction of the size it could reach in the wild. According to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, giant squids regularly reach lengths of 11 meters, and have been found as long as 13 meters. Despite their great size, they only live about five years.
Jon Friedman, a wildlife officer from the Cape of Good Hope Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), told South Africa’s IOL that the creature was female and about two years old when she died. Based on the deep gash on her side, Friedman estimated “she was most likely struck by a ship while she was at the sea surface.”
Giant squid typically live in the cold waters of the deep ocean, at depths of 300 to 1,000 meters, and are rarely seen outside of their environment. Most sightings are of dead specimens that wash on shore, but divers have occasionally seen live giant squid. Their only known predators are even larger creatures, such as sperm whales, inside the stomachs of which giant squid beaks have been found and whose hides are commonly scarred from battles with the giant squid’s huge suction-cupped arms.
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