One of the ocean’s most elusive creatures paid a friendly visit to a Japanese harbor on Christmas Eve, to the delight of many spectators, according to CNN.
The giant squid was actually small for its species, measuring an estimated 12-plus feet long. Giant squids are quite elusive, but are thought to grow as much as 43 feet in length. They normally hang out in the deeper parts of the ocean and no one knows why this particular one ventured into the harbor.
The squid swam around and under fishing boats in the harbor, Toyama Bay, and according to reports, stayed around for several hours before being somewhat guided back out into open water.
Akinobu Kimura, owner of Diving Shop Kaiyu, swam within a few feet of the creature, and said his curiosity was greater than his fear of the animal. He added the squid did not appear to be hurt or damaged, and looked lively, spurting ink. Kimura says he guided the squid towards the ocean and watched as it disappeared into the sea.
For hundreds of years, giant squids were considered a myth, and some believe the creature is the basis for the mythological Kraken sea monster. Even today, sightings of the creatures are rare.
Most of what was known about giant squids came from dead specimens that had washed up on the shore, until 2004, when the first ever observations of the species in its natural habitat were done in deep water of the north Pacific.
A Japanese broadcaster, NHK, along with the Discovery Channel, recorded the first actual live filming of an adult giant squid in the ocean in 2012.
Squid expert Edie Widder of the ocean Research and Conservation Association, who participated in the filming in 2012 remarked about how something that size had not been filmed until then, saying there are many great discoveries and fantastic creatures in the ocean depths that represent millions of years of evolution.
Yuki Ikushi, the curator of Uozu Aquarium in Uozu, Toyama, said they may see more giant squids this season, which runs from November to March, but added it was rare for the creatures to be swimming around the boats and moorings.