SAPPORO – A dead giant squid is on display at a zoo in Hokkaido, where visitors are invited both to ogle the ugly mass and to touch it.
The animal is drawing crowds at Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo, where it forms part of a deep-sea exhibition that opened on Jan. 1.
The animal is frozen, but is nevertheless displayed in the open air: Sapporo’s frigid cold is enough to keep it fresh.
The female giant squid is 4 meters long and weighs 163 kg. It was caught in a stationary net off Sado, Niigata Prefecture, on Jan. 8 last year.
The squid was initially studied by researchers at the Niigata Prefectural Fisheries and Marine Research Institute. It was then delivered to Maruyama Zoo frozen, where it was defrosted, spread out and frozen again in a suitable position for display.
Visitors are invited to touch it, but the zoo warns that the flesh has a bad smell and the odor may remain on people’s hands.
Other exhibits include the chambered nautilus, an animal colloquially referred to as a living fossil, as well as the giant sea louse, Bathynomus giganteus, which looks like a supersize woodlouse.
The zoo made headlines on Dec. 21, with an eighth cub born to a polar bear named Lala. The breeders said the births would boost the zoo’s standing in the world of polar bear husbandry.