too many words by laura lemay

diablo rojo

I don’t squid blog much any more because its become all the rage. Everyone’s squid blogging these days. Squid blogging is so last year.

But I had to blog this story because it totally creeped me out. Dancing with Demons is a long essay about encountering Humboldt Squid while diving. The Humboldt, colloquially called the Diablo Rojo, is big and apparently plenty mean.

Even though the squid make no known sounds intentionally (for communication), they do make some. Their chitenous ring teeth grate on my camera housing and body armor when they attack, sounding a bit like a dog’s toenails on a tile floor. The most incredible sound they make is when they attack and feed on flesh.

Thousands of ring teeth cut into the flesh of their prey so deeply, you can hear it. When they drag their victim away with pulses from their massive jet funnel, the sounds of their hapless victim being ripped apart fills the water. It sounds a bit like heavy duty Velcro® being pulled apart underwater. Then the beak can be heard, that huge knife-edged beak. The gouging of bone and tissue sound like the shredding of cabbage combined with that of hacking apart coconuts with a machete. It is unmistakable.

No wonder I’m not sleeping well.