Two-year-old images of giant squid beached in South Africa resurface as a recent event

A series of old photos showing a massive squid on a South African shore has garnered thousands of shares with claims that it happened in June 2024. However, this is misleading; the squid was photographed when it beached near Cape Town in April 2022. 

“This giant Squid washed up on the Beach at Kommetjie, South Africa, during the night. The museum is busy collecting it now,” reads a Facebook post published on June 24, 2024, and shared more than 2,000 times.

Kommetjie is a village on the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on July 3, 2024

The post includes four photographs of a large squid, including one of a child standing next to it.

However, the claim is misleading.

Giant squid

A reverse image search of the picture showed it was originally taken in 2022 by a beachgoer (archived here).

Ali Paulus published the photos on Instagram on April 30, 2022, with a caption about the giant squid that she and her family spotted on Long Beach in Kommetjie.

Paulus added that very little was known about the creature, speculating a boat propeller had possibly killed the squid.

According to reports here and here, when representatives of the local chapter of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) went to the scene later that day, community members had chopped up the approximately 3.5-metre-long squid (archived here and here).

The SPCA managed to salvage some tissue samples and took the rest of the remains back to the ocean for other creatures to consume. 

Despite being the biggest invertebrate on the planet, the giant squid remains quite elusive; the first images of a live one were only taken by researchers in Japan in 2004 and in 2006 scientists caught and brought to the surface a live 24-foot female giant squid (archived here).

A screenshot taken from a September 30, 2004, video of an eight-meter-long giant squid in southern Japan, released in 2005 by Japanese zoologist Tsunemi Kubodera (Yoshikazu TSUNO / AFP)

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