The Deadly Humboldt Squid Bites!

bbcearthPhoto: James Bickell/BBC Earth

The Humboldt squid is a massive sea animal, an invertebrate with a huge, sharp beak which can take a man’s hand off. That it didn’t in the clip below, which shows the time BBC’s Deadly 60 presenter Steve Backshall went looking for them, is entirely due to the protection of chain mail he was wearing – as you will see when the animal took hold of Steve’s arm.

The Humboldt squid are named for the current in the Eastern Pacific ocean that they are normally found in. Growing to as much as two-and-a-half meters and weighing up to 100 pounds, when one of these animals comes near you, you had better watch out! Although not normally aggressive, reflective gear and lights can set them off, and they are naturally curious as well as intelligent. Their enormous tentacles have barbed suckers that pierce prey and bring it to the sharp beak of their mouth, which then shreds it.

bbcearthPhoto: James Bickell/BBC Earth

Humboldt squid live for about one year and have a vertical daily migration which brings them closer to the surface during the night, from a depth of 2,300 feet. These mammoth squid even cannibalize other giant squid as well as eating shrimp, clams, lantern fish and molluscs.

As you can see in the video, they are extremely strong, so if you go near them make sure you are wearing some chain mail as the divers in the show are! Latex won’t stop them at all.

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