A paddleboarder off Melkbosstrand, South Africa, spotted a giant squid just beyond the waves and believed it was injured, so he thought it was a good idea to try to get it to shore.
From his Instagram post, it was uncertain why James Taylor wanted to get it to shore. Some suggested that if it was to save the sea creature, that wouldn’t have helped. Or was it because he wanted to eat it? Actually, it was neither.
“It was quite badly injured and barely alive when I caught it,” he wrote on Facebook, according to The Washington Post. “It didn’t even really try and get away, so we ended up putting it out of its misery when we got to the beach. It felt like the best thing to do at the time.”
It was definitely an odd encounter:
The Daily Mail reported that the 41-year-old was paddleboarding with his wife Christina when the incident occurred. He tried roping the giant squid to tow it to shore when its tentacles started moving toward him. He stood on the board and lost his balance, falling into the water as his wife squealed in laughter.
According to Earth Touch News, Taylor said the squid he found was missing some of its tentacles and covered in what appeared to be seal bite marks. Those observed injuries, combined with the squid’s overall lethargy, led Taylor to conclude that the squid had floated out of its deep-sea habitat to the surface to die, and so he thought if he could beach it, researchers from a nearby aquarium may be able to retrieve it for research.
“It was unfortunately a holiday and they did not have any staff on call to drive through, so we dissected it and took a bunch of videos and photos that we later sent to them so that they could at least have a look at what we found,” he said on Facebook. “They sent these on to a professor who has been studying giant squid in South Africa for the last 15 years and he was very excited about the find. He told me the next day that he has only seen five wash up on South African shores since he started his studies.”
Giant squid are said to inhabit waters from 980 feet to over 3,200 feet, so it was definitely on its last legs, or tentacles, as it were.
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