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Giant Squid Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lauren Scott

Lauren has a Master's degree in special education and has taught for more than 10 years.

This lesson will teach you about the mysterious giant squid. Information about their size, habitat, and feeding style will help you separate fact from fiction in regards to this mighty creature.

An Introduction to Giant Squid

They're the stuff of legends. Enormous arms reach up from the depths and drag boats under the sea where they are broken apart by tentacles and fierce teeth. What a nightmare! It's enough to make you stay on dry land forever. Luckily for you, the horror stories about giant squid are just that- stories! Although they don't match up to mythological monsters, giant squid are impressive creatures.

Scientists have learned about giant squid mostly by studying dead animals. They are rarely seen alive.
giant squid

The giant squid is the largest squid on earth, growing more than 40 feet long and weighing nearly a ton. It is a type of mollusk, like clams and oysters, and is closely related to octopuses and cuttlefish. Despite growing to such a large size, the giant squid doesn't live very long. Scientists estimate that they live no more than 5 years, which means they do a lot of growing in a short amount of time.

Giant Squid Features

The giant squid is pretty much a super-sized version of the smaller squid at the seafood counter. They have a cylinder-shaped body called a mantle, which contains their internal organs. They have eight long arms that are covered in suction cups, just like an octopus. The giant squid has two long feeder tentacles that grab onto prey. The feeder tentacles have suction cups at the ends, and can extend more than 30 feet from the squid's mantle.

Giant Squid Habitats and Hide-Outs

Giant squid appear to live worldwide in the deep ocean. Live ones rarely come to the surface, which makes them very hard to find. The first live giant squid was captured on video in 2006. Several have been spotted since then in shallower waters around Japan, and nobody is really sure why.

Eating and Being Eaten

The giant squid is a fierce predator that uses its powerful arms and feeder tentacles to catch deep sea fish. They sometimes eat other squid, too. Their suction cups are covered in small teeth, making it easier to get a firm grip on slippery fish. The mouth contains a sharp beak and a raspy tongue that break the food into smaller pieces.

It's challenging to hunt in deep, dark water, but giant squid are built for the task. They have huge eyes that grow to the size of a dinner plate. This makes it easier for them to see the light produced by many deep-sea animals.

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