Rare deep-sea creature washes ashore, confusing tourists

One of the deep sea’s most mysterious creatures has washed up on a beach in the Farewell Spit of Golden Bay, New Zealand.

Farewell Spit Tours guide Anton Donaldson was taking tourists on a trip on Friday when he received word that a deep-sea creature had washed ashore.

“My colleague Andy was ahead of me and said you’re in for a surprise. He didn’t elaborate on what it was,” Donaldson told the Herald.

The group walked a little further along the beach and found a huge white lump on the shore. Tourists were shocked to get so close to a rare creature.

Donaldson told his tour group they would get a chance to see a giant squid, something that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I announced it to the passengers and we all got out to see it. They were full of excitement. For most people it is a once in a lifetime opportunity, or not even a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“It’s not common on any beach, so if you’re able to be there at the right time, because things that wash up on the beach don’t hold organic matter on the beach.”

Donaldson and a passenger measured the giant squid, which had an estimated mantle and head length of nearly 13 feet, not including the tentacles.

The tour guide said it appeared some of the tentacles had been chewed off, after which the creature washed up dead.

“The tentacles on it were chewed back. It looked like they had been chewed back by other sea creatures like small sharks or fish over time and had washed up.”

Donaldson said it was an extremely rare part of nature.

“When something is a little bit different, it is something special to experience. But at the same time there was a certain sadness about such a creature. A great example of a large marine animal that lives on the ocean floor, sadly no longer alive on the beach.”

Donaldson said the Department of Conservation was contacted because the giant squid had previously been sought by scientists.

The company’s most recent sighting of a giant squid was in 2019, when they spotted an 18-foot long invertebrate stranded in the sand. The majority of the giant squid sighted by Farewell Spit Tours were about the same length.

According to the AUT Lab for Cephalopod Ecology and Systematics, a giant squid can grow up to 42 feet long and weigh up to 600 pounds. These creatures typically live at depths of around 5,000 feet (1,640 m) and do not surface when fully grown.

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Fry Electronics Team

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