Schneier on Security
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August 7, 2009
Friday Squid Blogging: Humboldt Squid is "Timid"
Contrary to my previous blog entry on the topic, Humboldt squid are really timid:
Humboldt squid feed in surface waters at night, then retreat to great depths during daylight hours. "They spend the day 300 meters deep where oxygen levels are very low," Seibel said. "We wanted to know how they deal with so little oxygen."
Seibel said that while the squid are strong swimmers with a parrot-like beak that could inflict injury, man-eaters they are not. Unlike some large sharks that feed on large fish and marine mammals, jumbo squid use their numerous small, toothed suckers on their arms and tentacles to feed on small fish and plankton that are no more than a few centimeters in length.
Seibel was surprised by the large number of squid he encountered, which made it easy to imagine how they could be potentially dangerous to anything swimming with them. Their large numbers also made Seibel somewhat pleased that they appeared frightened of his dive light. Yet he said the animals were also curious about other lights, like reflections off his metal equipment or a glow-in-the-dark tool that one squid briefly attacked.
"Based on the stories I had heard, I was expecting them to be very aggressive, so I was surprised at how timid they were. As soon as we turned on the lights, they were gone," he said. "I didn't get the sense that they saw the entire diver as a food item, but they were definitely going after pieces of our equipment."
I don't trust the research, or the squid.
Posted on August 7, 2009 at 4:53 PM
• 14 Comments
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At least read the wikipedia article before you risk your life.
They are very passive creatures under most circumstances. When a hungry swarm meets a major food source, however, they go into a feeding frenzy so intense that similar-size cannibalism begins to occur.
A swarm of two foot squid in these circumstances is enough to kill a diver with limited air - they're practically all muscle, ink, suckers, and beak. A single six-foot squid could easier take out a scuba diver.
I remember reading about a guy who raised a tiger cub. It was really tame, liked its owner, totally harmless etc.
One day, the owner was sitting on the deck reading, and the tiger cub was licking his knee. How sweet. Then he realised that the place it was licking was where he'd accidentally cut himself the previous day. The tiger cub was tasting human blood.
He tried to push it away, but it didn't want to stop licking and was too strong for him. Tigers have abrasive tongues. The little cut had expanded and was yielding quite a flow of blood.
The guy kept his head, and called to someone to bring him a loaded rifle. The tiger cub didn't know about rifles, so he was able to put a bullet through its head at a range of zero.
He decided not to raise any more of these harmless creatures as pets.
Fishing off Ucluelet, BC on 9/21/09, with two rods out, trolling in 50 and 70 feet of water, with salmon lures, about 10 AM, in bright sunlight. Both rods got hit by Humboldt squid at the same time. We lost one without bringing it to the surface. The other was brought to the surface, hooked in one of the tentacles. Since we didn't know what to do with this critter, we worked the barbless lure loose, and released it.
(Anybody got any good Humboldt squid recipes???)
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