See the Incredibly Rare Footage of a Live Giant Squid Swimming on the Ocean Surface

The giant squid is a species of deep-ocean dwelling squid in the family Architeuthidae. The giant squid in deep ocean.
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Written by Rachael Monson

Updated: October 18, 2023

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This short but incredible video shows a massive giant squid swimming near the ocean’s surface off Japan’s west coast. This squid is about eight feet long. The diver in the background appears very small next to it. The video caption states these creatures live in the waters around the area and sometimes wash ashore. It also says that this footage of a live squid is hard to find. Let’s learn more about the elusive giant squid before watching the video below!

Watch the incredible footage by clicking the button below!

What is the Largest Giant Squid Ever Found?

Males of this squid species reach up to 32.8 feet, while females typically grow to 39.3-42.6 feet. The largest one ever recorded measured 43 feet and may have weighed over 2200 pounds! Scientists suspect these creatures could grow larger than this, but these deep ocean dwellers aren’t eager to reveal themselves. Most of what we know about them has been learned from dead ones that have washed up on the beach. They often wash up on the shores of New Zealand, Pacific islands, both coasts of the Northern Atlantic Ocean, and the southern coast of Africa.

Giant Squid, Nature, Vector, Africa, Animal

There are very few photos and videos of giant squids.


Where Do They Live?

Giant squids spend most of their time deep in the ocean. Usually found between 1,000-3,500 feet below the surface, this is where they hunt and breed. Seeing them closer to the surface, like in our video, is extremely rare. That’s why there are so few photos and videos of them.

Like most cephalopods, they breed only once in their short lifetime. This type of reproduction, where the parents die after breeding, laying eggs, or giving birth, is called semelparity. The male dies shortly after breeding. Meanwhile, the female giant squid lays clusters of eggs in different places. Then, she dies, too. The babies hatch about six weeks later and face the deep ocean all on their own. Because they only live for about five years, they grow unbelievably quickly. Hatchlings only measure about 5.5-13 inches, but they reach their adult length after only 1-2 years. People sometimes confuse giant squids with their heavier cousins, colossal squids.

Giant Humboldt Squid on a fishing boat.

Humboldt squids are aggressive to humans, while giant squids seem to be peaceful.


Are Giant Squids Aggressive to Humans?

Because humans rarely encounter these creatures alive, there isn’t much information regarding attacks on us. In our video, the squid appears to peacefully go about its business. We were only able to find one report of a giant squid attacking humans, and some believe this attack is just an urban legend.

However, the Humboldt squid is responsible for multiple assaults on humans. Many reports state they attack divers regularly. These squids are much smaller than giant squids, but they can still do a lot of damage. In fact, a wildlife filmmaker named Scott Cassell produced a documentary Humboldt: The Man-eating Squid, detailing their attacks. This was an episode of Discovery Channel’s Dangerous Waters series.

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About the Author

Rachael Monson is a writer at A-Z-Animals where her primary focus is cats, big and small. She also works as senior veterinary assistant and has been in that field since 2012. A resident of Mississippi, she enjoys spending her off time playing video games with her husband and hanging out with her pets (a Bengal cat named Citrine and Basset Hound/Pomeranian mix dog named Pepsi).

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