Giant squid invade waters off San Diego

It sounds like the plot of campy 1970′s horror flick: aggressive giant squid sporting razor-sharp beaks and tentacles with teeth start showing up in the waters off the coast, attacking divers and grabbing their masks and hoses. But this is a real-life version of “It Came from the Deep”, and it’s happening in the waters near San Diego.

The creatures are called Humboldt squid, (though they’re also referred to as “red devils” for their color and hostile behavior) and can grow up to 5 feet long and weigh 100 pounds. They’re carnivorous and known for being particularly aggressive, especially when feeding. Scientists say they’ll even cannibalize other squid during a feeding frenzy. Though they’re native to Mexico, the squid have shown up in smaller numbers all along the west coast of the US. The last time such a large invasion occurred was in 2002, when 12 tons of dead squid eventually washed ashore near San Diego.

The squid generally stay a few hundred feet below the surface, but divers have reported seeing them at depths of 60-80 feet. Some divers have come across them without incident, but others have been bumped, pushed and pulled by antagonistic squid. Many divers are just choosing to steer clear of the squid, staying out of the water until the “carnivorous calamari” move on. Swimmers most likely won’t run into any of the squid, except for the few that wash up on the beach.

[via ABC News]