Video has surfaced of a giant squid swimming off the coast of Japan, marking a rare sighting and footage of these elusive creatures.
Yosuke Tanaka, 41, encountered the 8-foot-long squid while diving with his wife Miki, 34, off the western coast of Japan. The couple, who operate a diving business in Toyooka city, found out about the squid from a fishing equipment vendor who spotted it in a bay, Japan Times reported.
Tanaka and Miki took a boat out in search of the creature, staying near the shoreline as they scoured the bay.
“I could see its tentacles moving. I thought it would be dangerous to be grabbed hard by them and taken off somewhere,” Tanaka told the Times.
“We didn’t see the kinds of agile movements that many fish and marine creatures normally show,” he added. “Its tentacles and fins were moving very slowly.”
The footage, posted to Viral Press, shows the giant squid floating near the surface, its tentacles drifting behind it while the couple swim nearby. The squid seems either unaware or undisturbed by their presence.
An honorary researcher at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo told NHK news that the squid was likely around 1 or 2 years old, based on its size. A giant squid can grow as long as 39 feet.
The sheer size of the animal struck Tanaka, and he said he couldn’t help thinking about stories of squids fighting with whales. He assured that the experience would remain with him, saying it was “very exciting” and “there is nothing rarer than this.”
Giant squids have occasionally appeared along Japan’s coast, with the last known sighting in March 2022. Most of what scientists have learned about giant squids comes from the stomachs of sperm whales, one of the squid’s chief predators.
A study estimated that sperm whales feed upon up to 131 million giant squids each year, Newsweek reported. The animals are most commonly found around New Zealand and Japan, as well as the North Atlantic and waters around Africa.