Monday, July 23, 2007

Meet the Man-Eating Humboldt Squid

Off the coast of Mexico, a creature know to local fisherman as the “Red Demon” lurks in the deep. Legend has it that Red Demons, also know as Humboldt squid, have actually pulled fisherman overboard and devoured them. Fishermen are so terrified of the squid that they “would rather fall into the water with a feeding frenzy of sharks than Humboldt squid,” undersea explorer Scott Cassell, who studies the Humboldt, told the San Diego Union-Tribune in a recent feature.

Humboldts, named after an ocean current, not the Northern California coast, are incredibly violent creatures. Lashing out with feeding tentacles covered in “needle-sharp” teeth (40,000 of them), Humboldts, “shred you when they grab you,” explained Cassell. “They're not just attacking you to scare you,” Cassell said. “They are attacking you to eat you, not necessarily to kill you. They don't care if you live or die as long as they get to eat.”

In one encounter with the Humboldts, Cassell was pulled down so hard and fast that his arm was pulled out of it socket, his eardrum ruptured and his wet suit, of course, was shredded.

On the inside, Humboldt squid have three hearts pumping blue, copper-based blood. The monsters can swim up to 24 MPH, dwell in water up to 3,000 feet deep and they’re “smart as dogs,” reports the Union-Tribune. I’m not sure what that means, but they say these things have “excellent problem-solving skills,” and communicate among eatch other by changing the color of their skin. Yes, one of their favorite colors to flash is Red. And no, I don’t want to find out for myself.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.