Giant squid tentacles

Giant squid

What do you know about these weird and mysterious creatures?

For many years the giant squid was thought to be a myth. Sailors told stories of giant tentacled monsters destroying their ships. Some of these legends were exaggerated but these monsters from the deep do exist. How they live, however, still remains a great mystery.

Giant squid at the Natural History Museum

Giant squid at the Natural History Museum

Suited to hunting

Very little is known about the giant squid. We don't know what they eat or how they find a mate. We do know the giant squid is a predator and many of its body parts are suited to hunting:

  • Their eyes are the size of footballs. They are the largest eyes in the animal kingdom, extremely useful for spotting prey.
  • Teeth-filled suckers cover their eight arms and the clubs of their two extra long tentacles. The suckers are used to grab and drag prey.
  • A razor-sharp beak tears into prey such as other squid and fish.
Who dares to face the giant squid?
Giant squid at the Natural History Museum

Giant squid at the Natural History Museum

The sperm whale seems to have no fear of the giant squid as squid remains are often found in its stomach. The whales don't always come away unscathed as many boast nasty looking sucker scars. We can only imagine the underwater battles between these two amazing creatures.

Deep ocean living

Giant squid live in the very deep inky black ocean. Scientists think they live at depths of between 200 and 1000 metres.

Until very recently no one had ever seen one alive. Most of the specimens found are either washed up dead on beaches or found in the stomachs of sperm whales.

The Natural History Museum specimen 'Archie' was caught in a fisherman's net and is important as it was caught alive. It was complete, fresh and immediately put on ice to preserve it. Few other examples are in such good condition.

Giant squid suckers.

Giant squid suckers.

See for yourself

This enormous 8.62m-long 'monster' is now preserved in the Museum's Darwin Centre tank room. You can see the giant squid by booking a Spirit Collection Tour.