Rare footage released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week brought to life tales of aquatic monsters in murky waters. The 28-second video captured a juvenile giant squid's tentacles slowly creeping toward the camera in the Gulf of Mexico.
NOAA said the squid was about 10 to 12 feet long and it was discovered about 100 miles southeast of New Orleans Wednesday. The squid appeared to wrap its tentacles around the NOAA's underwater stealth camera called the Medusa before quickly swimming away. Scientists cited the creature's behavior as a normal reaction any animal would have to what, at first, appeared to be prey.
"The giant squid is large and certainly unusual from our human perspective, but if the video shows anything of the animal's character, it shows an animal surprised by its mistake, backing off after striking at something that at first must have seemed appealing but was obviously not food," the team of researchers said in an online post.
The Medusa uses red lights that are invisible to creatures at deeper depths. After only its fifth deployment, it drew the attention of the creature using its "e-jelly" lure which emulates the bioluminescence of jellyfish, according to NOAA.
Scientists with NOAA were looking to explore the deepest parts of the Gulf to further understand the effects lack of light have on the animals at those depths, including giant squids that were once perceived as "monsters."
"Our perspective as humans has changed," the NOAA team said. "What were once monsters to be feared are now curious and magnificent creatures that delight. We like to feel that science and exploration has brought about this change, making the world less scary and more wondrous with each new thing we learn."