The incredible footage above was captured on Christmas Eve in Japan’s Toyama Bay, located just northwest of Tokyo.
After encountering the spectacular creature near the surface of the water, local diver Akinobu Kimura (the man behind the camera) decided to swim with it for a bit. “My curiosity to get closer and to see the details on every part of its body was greater than my fear,” he told The New York Times.
While the squid remained calm and docile for the most part, Kimura did get a small taste of the giant’s strength during the encounter:
“At one point, it wrapped tentacles around me and I lost control of my body… The suckers stuck to my hand, and when the squid pulled away, it hurt.”
Luckily for him, the squid Kimura ran into was actually rather small for its species, measuring about 12 feet in length. Giant squid have been known to grow upwards of 40 feet; the largest ever recorded was a 43-foot monster that may have weighed close to a ton.
This is only the second time that the elusive beast has been filmed in its natural habitat. The first time was in 2012, when scientists from Japan’s National Science Museum partnered up with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the Discovery Channel. You can check out that footage below:
The first ever footage of a giant squid was filmed in 2006, when researchers used bait to hook one in the waters near Japan’s Ogasawara Islands. Check it out in the video below:
[h/t New York Times]