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Giant squid makes rare up-close appearance off Japan

The giant squid may be one of the most elusive, mysterious animals of the deep, but one of them recently offered an unusually close-up greeting to some spectators in Toyama Bay in central Japan. The giant cephalopod swam under some fishing boats, remaining close to the surface in the bay for several hours. A submersible camera was used to gather rare video footage of the tentacled sea dweller.

The squid was reportedly about 12 or 13 feet long, which is small by giant squid standards. An adult giant squid can grow as long as about 43 feet, leaving many to believe that this one was an adolescent.

Long the inspiration behind maritime tales of sea monsters, a giant squid was not filmed live in the wild until a team from Japan's National Science Museum and the Discovery Channel released footage in 2013 of a giant squid viewed from a submersible about a third of a mile beneath the surface of the ocean.