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15 Mysterious Giant Squid Fun Facts

What has a beak, is bigger than a bus and has a brain like a donut? Dive in to these ink-redibly interesting giant squid facts to find out more!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:ย  January 8th 2022

These giant squid fun facts are seriously tenta-cool! Looking for more content from the briny deep? We've got these amazing octopus facts, this claw-some crab quiz, or click here to find out what sea creature is most like you!

Alright, back to these mysterious alien-looking deep-sea cephalopods! (Now theres a sentence you don't read every day!)

1. They're bigger than a bus!

Giant squid can reach 13 metres long - that's longer than a double decker bus! And these are only the giant squid that scientists have caught and measured - sailors have claimed they've seen 18 metre long squid! These gigantic animals are so secretive we might never know how big they really get.

2. We don't know much about them

Giant squid are very mysterious and there's a lot we still don't know about them. This is because they live in the depths of the ocean, far from any humans. We've almost never seen them in the wild. Most of what we know comes from finding dead ones washed up on the beach!

3. There's also a colossal squid!

The colossal squid is a totally different animal to the giant squid. It's a little bit shorter, but even heavier - and could way up to 700kgs. If it really is this big, this makes it the heaviest invertebrate in the world (that's an animal with no spine). Again, because of their secretive habits it's really hard to say for sure. The only information we have has come from body parts found in the stomachs of whales!

4. Giant eyes for giant squid

Both giant and colossal squid have the biggest eyes in the animal kingdom - up to 25cm across, so about the size of a frisbee! The reason they have such big eyes is to help them see in the pitch black of the deep, deep ocean.

5. They're predators

Giant squid use their eyes to hunt their prey, and these squishy assassins won't turn down anything. Giant squid eat fish, shrimp, other squid - and they might even eat small whales!

A much, much smaller squid out hunting

6. But they're also prey...

Their massive size doen't mean they're invincible, and giant squid are often on the menu for sperm whales. Unsurprisingly giant squid aren't the easiest snack, and sperm whales have been found with wounds on their faces that were probably caused by giant squid going down fighting!

7. They have beaks!

Like all squid, giant squid have beaks instead of teeth. These are very clever body parts, and are the only part of the squid that's hard. In fact, they're razor sharp - and it's the beak that allows the squid to chop and slice up it's prey. Fun fact - squid beaks look a bit like parrot beaks, but surrounded with muscle!

8. They can regrow their tentacles

Lots of cephalopods (like octopus or other types of squid) can do this too!

9. Giant squid *might* be cannibals

Scientists looking in the stomachs of giant squid have found... bits of other giant squid. Which you think would be clear evidence for them being cannibals. But other scientists think it's more likely that they just accidentally eat bits of themselves sometimes. Weirder things have happened!

@discoverychannel | giphy

10. Their brains are the shape of donuts

Ok this is a weird one, at least for us shaved human apes! Squid brains are donut shaped, and their throats run through the hole in the middle. Check out this very scientific diagram to see for yourself. This means they need to chew their food properly, because a sharp bit of fish bone could cause brain damage. Yikes!

11. Jellyfish and giant squid work together

Jellyfish are small fry for a giant squid. But the fish that eat jellyfish are definitely worth eating! Some jellyfish can light up (this is called bioluminescence) and they've worked out that if they flash when they're being attacked by fish, it can attract nearby giant squid to scare off their attackers. This is a great deal for both the squid - who gets to eat the fish - and the jellyfish, who lives to glow another day. Not a great deal for the fish though.

12. Giant squid have inspired lots of stories

There's something amazing about these mysterious sea creatures, so it's no surprise that they've inspired seafaring myths and legends. The kraken, sea serpents, Cthulu all probably have their roots in giant squid sightings.

13. They weren't caught on video until 2006!

It took a long time to get any footage of giant squid. But here you go - enjoy this gif of it. Just look at that squid go!

@CNN | giphy

14. Squid propulsion engine!

You can see how squid move in the video above. Basically they suck water into their heads and then blast it out the back, which pushes them through the water. This is pretty similar to how jet engines work (just squishier), and can propel squid at an impressive 2 metres a second. Time for another highly scientific diagram!

15. They might be smarter than we realise

Like all animals, there is more and more evidence pointing to squid being more intelligent than we thought. We already know octopuses are very intelligent (about as smart as a 7 year old child), and it's likely squid aren't as far behind them as we once thought. And when it comes to giant squid - we know so little about them that it's really hard to guess how smart they could be.

But the question should be why do we assume everything is stupider than we are? Squid are clearly very different to us - what if we just don't notice the intelligent things they do?

Hmmm. Good question, floating space squid!