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Squid Facts

Size 0.07 in to 46 ft (20 mm to 14 m); 24 in (60 cm) (average)
Speed Up to 19 mph (30 km/h)
Weight 0.00001 oz to 1.090 lb (0.00033 g to 495 kg)
Lifespan 5-30 years
Food Fish, crabs, prawns
Predators Whales, seals
Habitat In oceans worldwide
Class Cephalopoda
Subclass Coleoidea
Order Squids
Scientific name Teuthida
Characteristics Long tentacles

Main Characteristics

Squids are related to octopuses but have ten tentacles and a wedge-shaped body. There are more than 250 species of squids. They are among the few animals that are also capable of living in the icy waters of the Antarctic sea. Squids have gills and breathe like fish.


How Do Squids Move?

Squids swim by sucking in and expelling water. The expelled water sort of catapults them forward. Therefore, squids can swim rather fast.

Squid Squid - Photo: feathercollector/Shutterstock


Anatomy and Appearance

The Biggest Squid

One of the biggest squids is the colossal squid. It lives in sea depths of up to 1.3 miles (2.2 km). We know this, because the remains of a colossal squid have been found in the stomach of a sperm whale, which dives as deep as this. In 2007 fishermen caught a 13.7 feet (4.2 meters) long colossal squid near the Antarctic coast. It weighed 1,090 lb (495 kg) and its eyes measured 11 inch (27 cm). Yet, it is believed that squids can get even bigger: up to 46 feet (14 meters) long and with eyes as big as 16 inch (40 cm).

The Smallest Squid

The two-colored bobtail squid Idiosepius pygmaeus only weighs 0.00001 oz (0.00033 g) when hatching. As an adult it does not get heavier than 0.006 oz (0.175 g) and measures about 0.7 inch (20 mm).

Squid Squid - Photo: divedog/Shutterstock

Enemies and Threats

How Do Squid Defend Themselves?

The little deep-sea squid Heteroteuthis dispar shoots with light, or with little shining bacteria to be more precise. Just like in Star Wars! This confuses attackers so much that the squid is able to make an escape.

How Do Squid Camouflage Themselves?

Euprymna scolopes reaches a length of about 1.3-1.4 inch (33-35 mm) and lives near the coast of Hawaii. In order not to be discovered by its enemies in the moonlight, it feeds on shining bacteria and blends with the brightly lit underground.


Squid Squid - Photo: David Litman/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

Squid Can Change Their Color

Squids do not only change their colors to adapt to the environment. They also communicate like this with each other. The Caribbean reef squid can send different messages by means of color patterns to other squids to its left and right.


During the mating season, squids form large swarms. The female squid places the fertilized eggs on stones and plants.

Fun Facts

Are Squid Aggresive?

The Humboldt squid is known for its aggressive behavior not only against other creatures, but also against its own species. It also attacks “relatives” and even eats them up. When it is really furious, it starts to gleam red and white. Despite this the Humboldt squid is not a loner. It roams the seas or hunts in groups as well.

Squid Squid - Photo: George P Gross/Shutterstock

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