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Giant Squid Washes Ashore in Spain

Oct 04, 2013 08:35 PM EDT

Beachgoers received a shock earlier this week when a giant squid washed ashore Spain's La Arena beach.

According to El Diario Montanes, the specimen is more than 10 meters long and weighs some 180 kilos.

It has since been moved to the Maritime Museum of Cantabria in the port city of Santander where technicians are focused on conserving the animal.

Museum Director Gerardo Garcia Castrillo told El Diario Montanes the museum is already home to two similar, though much smaller specimens.

Government officials and museum biologists are currently deciding whether or not the squid will remain in Santander for exhibition. The decision should not take more than three months, or the optimal period in which the squid can remain frozen, according to the Spanish news outlet.

Despite being the largest invertebrate in the world, the giant squid largely remains a mystery.

It wasn't until the last couple of years that live footage of the creature in its natural habitat was recorded for the first time -- a feat carried out by Tsunemi Kubodera, a zoologist at Japan's National Science Museum.

"It was shining and so beautiful," Kubodera told the AFP of the experience. "I was so thrilled when I saw it first hand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data."

Besides being the largest invertebrate, the giant squid shares the title of largest eyes with its cousin, the colossal squid. Able to grow up to 25 centimeters, these large organs enable it to detect objects deep below the ocean's surface.

Giant squids boast eight arms and two longer feeding tentacles they use to bring food to their mouths. The animal largely preys on fish, shrimp and other squid; however, according to National Geographic, some scientists believe they may hunt small whales.

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