A giant squid made its way into Japan's Toyama Bay on Christmas Eve, treating onlookers to a rare sighting of the magnificent creature. Japan seems to be the place to find these staggeringly large beasts: The first-ever images of a giant squid in the wild were snapped off the coast of the Ogasawara Islands in 2004, and the first film of a living adult came from the same area in 2012.
CNN reports that one intrepid diver had a close encounter with the real-life sea monster.
"My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and go close to it," Akinobu Kimura told CNN. "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."
It may seem massive, but the squid seen in the footage above is probably pretty young. It's estimated to be just over 12 feet long, and giant squid are thought to grow over three times that size. Researchers used to think that the giant squid Architeuthis dux (which is the only species of giant squid, as far as anyone can tell) could grow over 60 feet long, but a recent study of the available literature found no evidence to support this. In fact, since most of the giant squid seen by humans have been long-dead specimens, it's quite plausible that they might have stretched out as their tissues weakened.
But the 40 or so feet long they've been confirmed to reach is still pretty impressive. Heck, the 12 feet our buddy in the video above has reached is already pretty freaky looking.
Architeuthis dux may be the longest squid in the sea (or the longest we know about, anyway) but the colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) is the biggest in terms of mass. Scientists dissected a 770-pound colossal squid back in 2014, and you can check out our recap of the gross-but-awesome event here.