The Kraken, real or not real? — Post swap with Loren

Loren and I have decided to do a “post swap,” I don’t know if it’s a real blog thing, but basically we’re both guest posting for each other today.

I gave Loren an essay I wrote–“From smelly socks to evolution.”  If you’re curious what laundry has to do with Darwin, make sure you read my essay over on Loren’s blog.

But anyway you came here to read Loren’s thoughts on the Kraken (a fanciful creature that resembles a giant, terrifying squid)…

{{ The Kraken – Real or Not Real? }}

The largest species of squid in the world is the elusive colossal squid. The colossal squid is stouter, wider, heavier, and altogether larger than its close relative, the giant squid, but it’s not the longest squid in the world. That title belongs to the giant squid, which can grow up to forty-three feet long. The largest colossal squid specimen on record is only a fraction of that size, measuring in at almost seventeen feet long. However, that specimen was immature. Judging by the titanic tentacles discovered in the stomachs of sperm whales, it is believed that colossal squid can grow up to forty-six feet long.

The anatomy of the colossal squid is truly fascinating. They have donut-shaped brains in their mantles, with their esophagus running through the hole. Like every other squid, they have eight arms and two tentacles. But what makes the colossal squid’s tentacles special is the fact that they have swiveling hooks on the tips. Their eight arms are lined with sharp, serrated suction cups and flesh-piercing hooks. The hooks on the squid’s arms cannot rotate. Colossal squids have three hearts, two pumping blood to the gills, the other one supplying the rest of the body with blue blood. Their eyes, the biggest of any animal, are as wide as dinner plates. Unlike our eyes, which are made of a jelly-like substance, colossal squids’ eyes are inflated with water. When they die, the water leaks out of their eyeballs, reducing the size greatly.

Many have heard of the Kraken, a fanciful creature that resembles a giant, terrifying squid. It has been mentioned in countless tales. In these stories, the Kraken is depicted as rising out of the ocean, with its slimy tentacles snaking around the hull of unsuspecting ships. While the ship’s passengers run around the deck, wailing, the Kraken proceeds to pluck an unlucky person from the ship, encasing it in its constricting tentacles. Then it descends into the dreaded dark waters, its puny, petrified prey in its ruthless grip. The Kraken will then devour its unfortunate prey voraciously. However, these accounts were ignored, since the prospect of such a fantastical creature was simply too absurd to be true. But what if they were true? True, but embellished? It’s possible that the tales were based on the colossal squid, and that the Kraken is, in fact, real.

Colossal squid live deep, deep down in the vast black abyss of the ocean. They live 3,300 feet below the surface, but can dive to an indefinite depth. Their habitat ranges from Antarctica to South America and from New Zealand to South Africa. Most of the colossal squid specimens discovered so far were caught or washed up in New Zealand.

Because colossal squids live in such cold water, they have extremely slow metabolisms. Although some people think the squids consume large quantities of food each day because of their size, in actuality, they can live comfortably off of only .07 pounds of food per day.

The elusive colossal squid is easily one of the most fascinating creatures in the world. The possibility that it is the enigmatic Kraken from the captivating legends of old just serves to add to the wonder and mystery that surrounds the largest squid in the world.


That was fascinating, Loren! Now I’ve gotten in double science for today, and your essay even complimented my study today, which was about sharks. So now I that I know more about two terrifying ocean creatures, I definitely won’t be going for a swim today!

Make sure to head on over to Loren’s blog and read my essay about smelly socks and evolution. And while you’re there, make sure to follow Loren’s blog (she’s pretty awesome).

What did you learn about in science today?


8 thoughts on “The Kraken, real or not real? — Post swap with Loren

    Okay, I’m just loving your blog. You sound professional without sounding like a perpetual essay.
    I’m going to try to make my blog more, er, that way. 🙂
    You’re awesome. -Tess


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