5 Facts about the Giant Squid

Giants Squids are large, mysterious creatures that live in the deep ocean.

Sep 12, 2023bySara Payne
facts giant squid

Giant Squids are massive cephalopods with 8 long arms and 2 tentacles. These creatures have inspired legends of sea monsters for thousands of years. And even though humans have known about them for centuries, they are rarely seen, and little is known about them.

Why is it so large? Where can you find them? And how do they remain such a mystery?

Read on to learn 5 facts about the Giant Squid that will surprise you.

#1 Giant Squids have eyes the size of soccer balls

giant squid eye

The largest ever recorded Giant Squid was 59 feet long and weighed nearly a ton. For perspective, the average semi-trailer is about 48-53 feet long. These massive creatures have massive eyes. With the largest eye in the animal kingdom, the Giant Squid’s eyes are as large as soccer balls. They measure around 10 inches in diameter.

In the deep dark of the ocean, these gigantic eyes help to absorb more light. That doesn’t mean that the Giant Squid can see particularly well in the depths, but it does help them to detect the shadowy movement of predators such as the sperm whale from as far as 394 feet away. Their eyes can detect contrast differences in the ocean depths, so they can see long distances.

#2 Giant Squids live in the Twilight Zone

giant squid old

The Twilight Zone of the ocean is a layer of water from about 650 feet to 3,300 feet below the surface. It gets its name because this layer is just beyond the reach of sunlight. The area has other names, midwater or mesopelagic, but no matter the name, the conditions are the same. This area of the ocean is cold and dim.

Since commercial fishers cannot reach this depth and there has been little scientific exploration here, the area remains enigmatic. There are likely many incredible underwater species living here and deeper that scientists have never seen before.

Yet, giant squids call this area home. They live at around 2,950 feet below the surface. Due to their deep-sea habitat, scientists know little about how many giant squids there are in the ocean. Their habits are also difficult to study.

#3 Sperm whales and Giant Squids often battle underwater

sperm whale vs squid

One of the ways that scientists have been able to find out information about Giant Squid is through post-mortem studies. Either the Giant Squid is washed up on shore, or they find these massive squids inside the belly of sperm whales.

Since Giant Squid are so large, they have large predators. Sperm whales are often found to have bits of Giant Squid in their stomachs, including undigested Giant Squid beaks and other parts. Also, Sperm whales have been found with giant squid sucker scars on their bodies.

This suggests that Giant Squid and Sperm Whales are natural enemies.

#4 Kraken myths may have originated from Giant Squid sightings


The Kraken is a mythic monster that lives in the depths of the ocean and attacks ships. These stories are a part of Nordic folklore from Norway to Greenland. According to legend, these creatures would use their massive arms to ensnare ships and take them down or swim around the ship rapidly, creating a maelstrom.

The Giant Squid likely inspired these legends, yet this creature doesn’t have a taste for human flesh and isn’t going around taking down ships. As early as 1853, the Giant Squid was added to scientific journals. A carcass washed up on the shores of a Danish beach, and a naturalist was able to recover the creature’s massive beak.

Though the Giant Squid isn’t exactly what the myths of old suggest, it is still a fearsome predator and hunts in the depths of the ocean, battling its true enemy: the Sperm whale.

#5 The first live footage of a Giant Squid was caught in 2004

giant squid footage

Although scientists have had a look at several dead Giant Squid, it is much more uncommon to see a live one. It wasn’t until 2004 that a live Giant Squid was caught on camera.

Japanese researchers record images of an adult Giant Squid attacking a bait line about 2,950 feet in the North Pacific Ocean. Since then, in 2012, the first video footage of an adult Giant Squid was recorded. Japanese researchers in a submersible followed the squid off Chichi Island to a similar depth.

Since these sightings, there has been a slight increase in Giant Squid recordings.

Additionally, the Giant Squid, previously thought to mostly dwell in the North Pacific, was caught on video in 2019 in the Gulf of Mexico. Since little is known about how many of these animals there are in the ocean, they could be near extinction, and we wouldn’t know until it’s too late.

Giant Squids are remarkable, large, mysterious creatures that roam the oceans. There is still so much to learn about them. As technology advances and more deep ocean studies can be conducted, perhaps we will eventually learn more about the creature that inspired the Kraken myths.

Sara Payne
bySara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.