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Giant Squid Caught in Japan, Rare Creature Exceeded 13 Feet in Length [VIDEO]

Jan 16, 2014 11:24 AM EST

A group of Japanese fishermen on the hunt for yellowtail got the surprise of a lifetime last week when they caught a rare giant squid.

Measuring about 13 feet long, the mysterious creature was spotted after dawn on Jan. 8 in the frigid waters off northern Japan's Sadogashima island in Niigata prefecture.

Yellowtail, or Japanese amberjack, are caught with special nets that are lowered more than 200 feet below the water's surface, according to the Japan Daily Press.

"When I hauled up the net, the squid slowly came floating up," fisherman Shigenori Goto said, according to the Daily Press. "This is the first time I've seen such a large squid."

"We were about 30 minutes into our day when this large, reddish-brown thing came swimming up from the depths," Goto, 44, told Reuters.

"I was surprised - there's no other word for it. We all started shouting 'giant squid, giant squid' all at once."

The 360-pound squid died after being hauled aboard the fishing boat. It was handed over to scientists after being brought back to land.

Researchers said that the squid was in all likelihood much longer than it was when it was delivered to them. The squid's super-long tentacles were lost during its capture. Had the creature been fully intact, it would have likely measured more than 25 feet long, Reuters reported.

"I wish we'd been able to make it more presentable," Goto told Reuters. "If I'd known it was going to be such a big deal, I'd have treated it with more respect."

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