Kraken-Like Giant Squid Washes Up On New Zealand Beach

Published August 29, 2018

The perfectly intact 14-foot-long cephalopod took three divers by surprise.

Three divers came across the carcass of a perfectly intact giant squid on the southern coast of Wellington, New Zealand earlier this week.

The divers — brothers Daniel, Jack, and Matthew Aplin — had encountered large predators in the waters before but never anything like this, and on the shore no less. “It measured 4.2 meters [about 14 feet] long,” Daniel Aplin reported to the New Zealand Herald. The brothers describe themselves as “big dudes,” but according to their photos, they don’t even measure up.

The cause of death for this particular squid is unknown. The brothers did not notice any abrasions or obvious markings on the squid: “It was pretty clean, nothing major on it. There was a scratch on the top of its head but smaller than a lighter, tiny, wouldn’t think that’s what killed it,” Daniel said.

As of Aug. 29, the squid has been collected by New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and is currently under examination.

The squid is thought by experts to be a “giant” and not “colossal” squid, being that it is “only” a whopping 14 feet long — and colossal squids are known to have wider heads and can be as long as 60 feet.

As the giant squid can stretch up to 40 feet and longer, they naturally require quite a bit of space to live, which is why they frequent depths between 1,000 and 2,000 feet.

Because of their deep-water habitat, the giant squid has proved elusive and difficult to study. Much of the research done on them to date has been made possible by carcasses, like the one the Aplin brothers stumbled upon, washing ashore. They have an ancient history, however, as a member of the cephalopod group, modern squids are descended from a 500 million-year-old legacy.

It is no wonder this giant has inspired mythologies like that of the Kraken over the centuries.

Next, read about the mysterious sea creature that washed ashore in Mexico. Then, read about this strange carcass found in Indonesia that turned the water red.

Leah Silverman
A former associate editor for All That's Interesting, Leah Silverman holds a Master's in Fine Arts from Columbia University's Creative Writing Program and her work has appeared in Catapult, Town & Country, Women's Health, and Publishers Weekly.
Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Point Park University.