Fisherman in Florida made a surprising catch last weekend, hauling in a 23-foot giant squid that was almost too big to bring home in their 23-foot boat.
"Things got pretty interesting," says fisherman Robert Benz, describing the morning he and his fisherman buddies spotted a 23-foot giant squid floating on the surface while fishing off the Florida coast.
"Nobody believes a fisherman," says Benz, explaining why he and his crew hauled the sea monster aboard and brought it to shore. "It was something we'd never seen in our lives before."
Giant squid, some of which can grow up- to 45 feet in length and weigh up to a ton, are a relatively common sight in the South Pacific and the North Atlantic isles, but aren't usually found in Florida waters, according to local news sources.
"It's foreign to imagine that there's an animal with 8 arms and 2 tentacles that are twice as long as the arms," says Ellie Van Os, Director of Education and Exhibits at the Florida Oceanographic Society. "And their mouth is in the middle of their arms ... and big eyes."
This particular squid, caught 12 miles offshore from Port Solerno, weighed 200 pounds and was brought to shore unharmed, but expired shortly thereafter.
"It didn't seem it had been dead long," says Benz. "The tentacles were still moving and it was sticking to you when we got it in."
According to Van Os, the fisherman "did a good job" catching the squid and bringing him to shore for study, saying it was "really good they recognized what they had."
The squid is was transported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, then handed to a team from the University of Florida for further study. No news yet if Florida maps will be updated to proclaim "Here there be monsters."
(Photo: Alex Kruze)