I really had no idea that squid* ( check out the pic at this link) were the antitheses of lemmings.
Thousands of jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas) or Humboldt squid, were found stranded on southern California beaches over the summer of 2002. The normal range of these squid, also known as Humboldt squid, is from Peru north to Baja California. However, warm water events such as El Niño can extend the range of these squid to Oregon.
But wait - - there's more! This gonzo squidity didn't end after the Yr 2002 El Niño. As ABC News reported, just this past summer there were close encounters of the tentacular kind in the normally placid waters off the coast of San Diego. (Be sure to watch the video at the ABC News link.)
Diver Shanda Magill became all too acquainted with the squid's powerful pull, she told the AP.
During a recent night dive, Magill had no warning when a large squid hit her from behind, grabbed her and dragged her sideways through the water. Both her light and her buoyancy hose were ripped away in the scuffle, but then the squid departed suddenly, leaving Magill disoriented and panicking in the water.
"I just kicked like crazy. The first thing you think of is 'Oh my gosh. I don't know if I'm going to survive this,'" she told the AP. But Magill doesn't seem to hold much animosity toward the creature that attacked her.
"If that squid wanted to hurt me, it would have," she said.
Also, in 2005, there was squiggly squid excitement!
Scientists aren't sure why the squid, which generally live in deep, tropical waters off Mexico and Central America, are swarming off the Southern California coast — but they are concerned.
In recent years, small numbers have been spotted from California to Sitka, Alaska — an alarming trend that scientists believe could be caused by anything from global warming to a shortage of food or a decline in the squid's natural predators.
In 2005, a similar invasion off San Diego delighted fisherman and, in 2002, thousands of jumbo flying squid washed up on the beaches here. That year, workers removed 12 tons of dead and dying squid.
The mystery of the squid encounters is unexplained. Indeed - Who knows what motivates a ten tentacled mollusk? Are they just lovable, playful creatures who want to be our friends? Do they think we'd make nice pets? Evidently they are not interested in having us for lunch.
Is it global warming causing a disturbance in or expanding their normal habitat? Could overfishing of sharks, their natural predators have anything to do with it?
Whatever the answer, I'm deeply envious of Shanda Magill, who has actually been hugged by a squid! Remember - they do not want to hurt you.
Hat tip to Space Squid.
* Photo source.