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Imagine you’re a Japanese fisherman. It might be hard to visualize if you’re a woman in landlocked Slovakia, but just try, will ya? Okay, so you have your little fisherman hat on with your rubber fisherman boots and you’re just going about your morning, hauling in your nets when you spot a giant red object swimming amongst your usual catch. It’s over twice the size of an adult human being and uglier than most. What do you do? If you ask us, you obviously ride the beast to shore, but last week’s close encounter with a live giant squid near Niigata Prefecture ended a little differently.

Fisherman Shigenori Goto found the monstrous creature in a fixed net his crew uses to catch Japanese amberjack fish off the coast of Sadogashima Island, Niigata Prefecture. Surprisingly, the rare giant squid was still alive when the fishermen discovered it, but unfortunately died shortly after.

Once the fishermen were back on land, the squid was taken to the Niigata prefectural government’s fishery and marine research institute. Researchers determined that the squid was male, weighing in at 163 kg (360 lbs) and measured nearly 4m (13ft) in length.

News of the giant squid seems hard to believe, but after viewing picture and video evidence, it’s clearly not a hoax. This isn’t the first time giant squids have been in the news online; earlier this week, netizens were shocked by the following image depicting an impossibly huge cephalopod that allegedly turned up on a beach near the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant:

giant squid

Unsurprisingly, the photo turned out to be fake. However, considering how little we actually know about the ocean’s depths and how often bizarre fish are showing up on shore, we wouldn’t be surprised if someone else finds yet another giant squid…hopefully one that’s not radioactive.

Source: Asahi Shimbun Digital, Business Insider
Images: Jin115, YouTube (Reuters)