A rare squid washed up dead on a Wellington beach this morning with experts saying they believe it had been attacked in the sea.
The massive squid was found by residents at Houghton Bay on Wellington's south coast and experts from Te Papa have estimated it could be up to 4m long. The remains have now been washed out to sea.
Te Papa communications manager Jane Kieg said the creature was in bad shape as it had been attacked and had suffered further damage from being washed up on the beach.
Department of Conservation Wellington area manager Rob Stone initially identified the squid as a colossal squid - the largest type.
But Ms Kieg said it was a giant squid. She said colossal squid have short tentacles with swivel hooks and massive fins. But the Wellington beast has long tentacles with teethed suckers and small fins.
Giant squid can grow up to 13 metres in length.
Department of Conservation staff had removed the creature's beak and experts at Te Papa would measure it in order to determine the age of the creature.
Ms Kieg said it was however a "fantastic" opportunity to see a giant squid. Te Papa had one of its educators at the beach, explaining the giant squid to people.
Because the area is a marine reserve, the remains were left on the beach but were washed backed out to sea about 3pm.
Victoria Univesrity marine biology student and Island Bay resident Jeannine Fischer said she was in a laboratory this morning when she heard about the squid having washed up on the beach, so went down for a look.
''As far as I know it is very rare. I've never heard of such a big squid washing up so close to Wellington.''
Ms Fischer said the squid, which was white, with pink and white tentacles, was sitting in a stormwater channel.
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- Sunday Star Times