Colossal Squid Pulsating Through The Seas!

After the apocalypse, there will still be colossal squid. I’m not sure what they will feed on – radioactive herring grown to ten times its normal size, perhaps? I have little faith in fairness and justice, but I do have faith in the colossal squid.

In the post-apocalyptic tale, The Road, Cormac McCarthy’s protagonist wondered, looking out into the dead, lead-like waves of the sea, if there is life in there, and when he did so, he thought of squid.

When he was in the military, my father once had the (dis)pleasure to go on a training exercise in the Black Sea, in the middle of the night. He was on assignment with a partner, with diving lights, and a full moon. They never finished the exercise, because they saw something that night.

It was something enormous and, in the words of my dad, “worm-like.” My dad later theorized that decades-long pollution of the Black Sea could have resulted in seriously messed-up sea critters.

After the encounter, my dad became obsessed with sea creatures, and eventually settled on the squid as one of his favourite marine monsters. I followed suit.

Why do we love the colossal squid? Because we can marvel at it from the safety of land. The cold, slimy squid makes our beds feel warmer and our pillows, and carpets, and kittehs feel softer. And yet, there is also its sheer awesomeness, especially when you contemplate the amazing contrast between tame fried calamari on your plate with marinara sauce on the side, and the gargantuan beastie shooting through the inky waters of the deep.

The very existence of the colossal squid is a comfort to those of us who worry that our planet has become dreadfully bland as of late. Even when she is defrosted and examined on live webcam, the squid remains mysterious, unholy, and magnificent. She’s like a ghost, only tactile, a physical presence unlike any other.

I’d place the colossal squid squarely in the uncanny category – it’s the primordial slime of life, and yet intelligent and powerful and not at all the sort of creature you’d like to meet on its own turf. The colossal squid, it is said, lives at depths of 100 meters below, a place that might as well be a dark, starless void somewhere in outer space as far as human beings are concerned.

Assuming one could somehow survive the pressure, one still could not see the squid if it attacked. Only feel it.

Dum dum dum!

I think human beings are especially fascinated with deadly creatures. Mortality is like a bruise we keep fingering, and few things in life represent mortality as well as a colossal squid.

Aside from all that, it is just a perfect blend of fearsome beauty and utter grossness. It’s like the Dali of the natural world. It’s like a fairy tale come to life.

I love it, and so should you.

14 thoughts on “Colossal Squid Pulsating Through The Seas!

  1. We’ve always been fascinated by stories of animals which threaten our status on top of the power pyramid… the wolf, the bear, the lion, the great white shark, the kraken. Most of the news stories written about this squid haven’t been about the squid, but about the squids we haven’t seen yet… sure, they write, this one’s 900lbs but it’s practically the equivalent of a child compared to the ones we don’t know about.

  2. I’m hearing all these wild rumours about how soon enough, with global warming and all, we won’t be able to swim off the coast of Florida.

    Because teh squid will ATTACK.

    Apparently, changing weather patterns are screwing the poor beasties over big-time (am not sure about the whole ATTACK thing, but scientists are fairly certain that the warming oceans are not good for them).

  3. If it gets any warmer the coast of Florida will be Georgia.

    Warming waters mean the beasties living in the North (polar bear) are losing their primary habitat, and the ones in the deep South (big-ass squid) will have to find new food sources or fight harder for the remains

    How they react will determine the survival of the species. Canadian polar bears, for example, are showing up hundreds of miles south of where they’re supposed to be… in the United States they’re classified as a marine animal, so they’ll probably have to change that. Here in Canada they’re land animals.

    From what I can tell (Wiki) Colossal Squid basically eat each other and big-ass fish. So wherever they go, hungry colossal squid will go… maybe even to Georgia.

  4. I share your sense of wonderment, and kind of want to get a giant squid tattoo to celebrate.

    Not going to, but the thought crossed my mind.

  5. Squid are good to eat, a big one could feed a lot of folks! Don’t forget the bigger they are the harder they are to tenderize so I suppose you have to beat them on the rocks more than normal sized squid.

  6. I love my wife but oh you squid…

    great fucking piece.

    the last article about “colossal squid” i read noted that calamari made from it would be the size of truck tires, which is exactly the sort of information we all need, i feel.

  7. Unfortunately, both giant squid and colossal squid are not edible: their bodies are saturated with ammonia, which would make colossal calamari foul-tasting and toxic.

    Maybe it’s a good thing though. Knowing that, fishing ships won’t try to catch the big squid if they ever have to rise to the surface because of global warming and lack of food.

  8. M.B. Injected a bit of truth and logic. Shame on you! LOL!

    First, Giant Squid have been recorded and known about for eons. Proof of existence is rather recent. A Japanese researcher photographed at least one if I remember correctly. I think there is video on the History channel.
    Global warming…? based upon what? The actual fact that the caps are enlarging? Or perhaps that there are more Polar bears now than in all recorded history? Or perhaps the flawed climate model produced by Steve at Colorado University for the National Atmospheric and Space Administration, as reported by Steve..?

    I must confess. I am the one that shows up, and asks questions; from AllGore, Perlmutter, DeGette, and others. When, has the Earth been not been either warming, or cooling?

    They all dodge it.

  9. I utterly loved this post, here on my first visit to your blog — terrific writing. Made me think of the giant squid who used to live in the unclaimed space behind the closet in our spare bedroom. I could hear it slithering, heaving and breathing whenever I tried to sleep in there (not often!). I wonder what ever happened to him?
    I’ll be back . . .

  10. We love Colossal Squid too and hope you’ll watch our next SquidCam update.

    We’re pulling our colossal squid out of formalyn and moving it to its new display tank. She’s been in the tank preserving for the last few months and this will be our first look at her!

    You can watch our scientists live on Wednesday 6 August starting 9am NZ time (USA: Tuesday 2pm to 5pm, UK: Tuesday 10pm).

    Check out the full programme on Te Papa’s blog and website. Tell us what you think!

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