Giant of the sea ... The squid dwarfs a local who headed to the beach to see the rare sight. Picture: Facebook/Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium Source: Facebook

Giant of the sea … The squid dwarfs a local who headed to the beach to see the rare sight. Picture: Facebook/Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium Source: Facebook

Sleep well last night? Well we have something that will haunt your dreams tonight.

A New Zealand aquarium has shared photos of a giant squid that washed up on a beach in Kaikoura on the South Island of New Zealand on Tuesday.

The Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium has put the sea creature in a freezer with glass windows that is on display for visitors. The mantle is about 6.5 feet long, while the longest tentacle is about 16 feet long. Parts of it will be donated to Auckland and Otago universities for research, according to Facebook posts.

the giant squid was found by a man walking his dog at South Bay in Kaikoura. The local marine centre has since moved the squid to a freezer with glass windows so it can be viewed by the public. The aquarium says some samples will go to Auckland and Otago Universities for research

“Before the birds got to it — we got help to move it to the aquarium where it is safe inside a freezer with glass windows so you can see it — on display until we can do more with it,” they wrote on their Facebook page along with a number of photos.

“The mantle itself is over 2m long with a 19cm eye diameter! The longest tentacle is just a over 5m! What a beast!”

“Some samples will so far be going to both Auckland and Otago universities for further research,” they added.

Photos of the giant specimen were quick to do the rounds on social media.
“Now that’s a lot of salt and pepper squid nom nom nom lol,” one Facebook user wrote.

“Not sure if I should show the kids this or not … they swim there every day in summer,” another added.

Suckers ... These suckers are the size of a small dinner plate. Picture: Facebook/Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium Source: Facebook

Suckers … These suckers are the size of a small dinner plate. Picture: Facebook/Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium Source: Facebook

Giant squid live up to their name: the largest giant squid ever recorded by scientists was almost 43 feet (13 meters) long, and may have weighed nearly a ton. You’d think such a huge animal would be hard to miss. But because the ocean is vast and giant squid live deep underwater, they remain elusive and are rarely seen: most of what we know comes from dead carcasses that floated to the surface and were found by fishermen.

But after years of searching, in 2012 a group of scientists from Japan’s National Science Museum along with colleagues from Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the Discovery Channel filmed a giant squid in its natural habitat for the first time (video below). The species was first recorded live in 2006, after researchers suspended bait beneath a research vessel off the Ogasawara Islands to try and hook a giant squid. As the camera whirred, the research team pulled a 24-foot (7-meter) squid to the surface alive enabling people around the world to finally see a living, breathing giant squid.