Giant Squid: See The First Photos Of The Kraken Here

By Amir Khan on January 8, 2013 11:45 AM EST

Giant Squid
Giant Squid (Photo: Reuters)
Giant Squid
Giant Squid (Photo: Reuters)

The elusive giant squid has been caught on camera for the first time, thanks to a team of Japanese scientists. The team of scientists travelled to the deepest depths of the ocean for a chance to capture the giant squid, thought to be the inspiration for the mythical kraken, on camera and succeeded.

The pictures of the giant squid, taken last July, show the 10-foot long cephalopod swimming nearly a mile below the surface. And though the giant squid caught on camera is on the small side, it provides researchers with the first glimpse into how the elusive giant squid behaves in its natural habitat.

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"Many people have tried to capture an image of a giant squid alive in its natural habitat, whether researchers or film crews," Tsunemi Kubodera, a zoologist at Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science, said, according to Yahoo! News. "But they all failed. These are the first ever images of a real live giant squid."

The key to capturing the giant squid on camera was to remain hidden, Kubodera said. By using light invisible to both human and cephalopod eyes, the researchers could capture the giant squid on camera without scaring it away.

"If you try and approach making a load of noise, using a bright white light, then the squid won't come anywhere near you," he said. "That was our basic thinking. So we sat there in the pitch black, using a near-infrared light invisible even to the human eye, waiting for the giant squid to approach."

Getting to see a giant squid in its natural habitat was a special experience, Kubodera said.

"I've seen a lot of giant squid specimens in my time, but mainly those hauled out of the ocean. This was the first time for me to see with my own eyes a giant squid swimming," he said. "It was stunning, I couldn't have dreamt that it would be so beautiful. It was such a wonderful creature."

The footage the researchers filmed will be shown on a Discovery Channel special airing later this month.  

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