colossal squid

Deep Sea Gigantism At Work – The Colossal Squid!

We’ve got a true behemoth as our next Animal of the Week! A marine creature that is one of the largest animals on the planet, the famed Colossal Squid! While there have been more documented cases of the Giant Squid, the Colossal Squid is even bigger from the few specimens found, reaching up to 46 feet long and weighing over 1,500 pounds. Because the Colossal Squid is located at depths that we can’t even reach yet, little is truly known about these creatures. Marine biologists are studying all the time to learn more about these modern day giants.

How Much Does A Colossal Squid Weigh?

Most information on the Colossal Squids are known from smaller & younger specimens, and scientists have used this information to scale it up to what a fully grown specimen would be. It is believed that the Colossal Squid could weigh as much as 1,650 pounds, making it the largest of all living invertebrates on the planet! What’s more interesting than their weight is actually how little they need to eat daily because of their slow metabolic rate. An adult that weighs 1,100 pounds is believed to only need 1.1 ounces of food daily….that’s like an adult human only needing to eat 1 raisin a day!

What is Bigger, A Colossal Squid or A Giant Squid?

As we’ve talked about at the beginning of this blog, the Colossal Squid is the bigger contender of these two enormous cephalopods, but that doesn’t mean the Giant Squid is tiny by any means. Just like the Colossal Squid and many deep sea creatures, information is scarce and we are learning more each day – in 2004 the first images of a live giant squid were taken in its natural habitat, and then in 2012 the first video footage was recorded. Female giant squids have been estimated to reach 43 feet with males reaching 33 feet long, so compared to the 46 feet of a Colossal Squid they are definitely pretty close and deserving of their name.

NZ Colossal Squid

Can They Eat Humans?

To answer this question shortly, most humans will never come anywhere close to a Colossal Squid in their entire life! However, there have been reports of cephalopods attacking humans at sea for hundreds and hundreds of years. Cephalopods are considered the most intelligent invertebrates on the planet, and often that means they are curious and want to learn about their surroundings and other creatures they encounter. But just as all animals have the instinct to survive, cephalopods can often turn towards aggression when they fear for their life or believe they are encountering a predator. Generally humans are not considered prey by squids or the Colossal Squid. Most tales of ships attacked by giant animals with tentacles and suction cups are just fantasy. That said, these animals are predators and definitely have the ability to hurt or even kill humans under the wrong circumstances.

Are Squids Intelligent?

Just like the other members of their Cephalopod family, like octopus and cuttlefish, squids exhibit well developed senses and larger brains than many other animals in general. Of all invertebrates, cephalopods also have the most complex nervous system, so the way they react to sensory information fascinates many marine biologists looking to learn more about these animals. In fact, many cephalopods in aquariums have been found to leave their home, explore a little in the lab or enter another aquarium looking for a snack, and then return back to their own aquarium.

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Where Are They Found In The Wild?

The first step when looking for a colossal squid is to look in the water! As far as we know, they tend not to hang around in treetops or volcanoes. After you’ve gotten past that first requirement, the next step is to deep deep down…more than 3,000 feet below the surface to be exact. The Colossal Squid is the perfect example of deep sea gigantism – when marine animals, especially invertebrates, grow especially large when deep under the sea. Marine Biologists are still studying and learning about the exact travel patterns and locations of the Colossal Squid. They’ve deduced that these creatures prefer antarctic waters.