'Incredible': Giant squid found washed up on beach

Beachgoers in Cape Town, South Africa got more than they bargained for when a giant squid washed up on their sandy shores.

The impressive sea creature was spotted on Saturday morning at Long Beach in Kommetjie, about 40 kilometres south of the South African city.

“It was incredible to see,” local resident Ali Paulus, who is also the founder of a wildlife conservation group, told Life Science.

“The body was around 2.2 metres alone, then with the tentacles and arms I’m sure it would have been stretched to 3.5 metres.”

A young boy bends down to look at the giant squid (left) and the giant squid on a beach outside cape Town (right).
A giant squid has washed up on a beach in Cape Town. Source: Ali Paulus

The wildlife team at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA was called out, but unfortunately pieces of the squid that would have provided insight into its death had already been removed by fisherman.

Wildlife officer, Joaco Friedman, told the Mail & Guardian, they’d seen a group of people sharing out pieces of the tentacles.

“The animal’s major organs were spread out around it and pieces of it were floating in the water.”

The team was able, however, to salvage a few tissue samples for the Iziko Museum in Cape Town which has a collection of preserved giant squids.

Its remains were put back into the sea.

Tissue was collected from the giant squid and then its remains were put back out to sea. Source: Ali Paulus
Tissue was collected from the giant squid and then its remains were put back out to sea. Source: Ali Paulus

Giant squid's discovery amazes onlookers

Photos of the squid have since gone viral, with many exclaiming their shock on social media.

“We were on Kommetjie beach this morning,” one person commented, “it really is huge!”

“I had no idea that they were this large,” wrote another, “I used to swim in those freezing cold waters. I didn't know these large creatures were there too.”

Others were concerned over what had caused the squid to wash up.

“It seems to have bite marks on it,” one noticed, “maybe the result of an interaction with a sperm whale.”

“Saddening though, I suspect the death may be due to the huge amount of human-generated plastic pollution in our oceans," someone else said.

Live giant squid washes up in Japan

A week earlier another giant squid washed up on a beach in Japan. The squid, about three metres long, was found alive at Ugu beach in Obama of Fukui Prefecture, the Independent reported.

"It is unusual for a giant squid to be washed ashore alive," an official told a local newspaper.

Elusive members of the deep

Despite being one of the biggest invertebrates on Earth — growing up to around 13 metres long — giant squid mostly remain a mystery to scientists.

They live in the deepest parts of the ocean, at around 300 to 1,000 metres, and are rarely seen.

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