DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - The man-of-war on Delray's beach had to make some room Tuesday morning when a 3-foot squid, squirting ink by the cupful, washed ashore.
Delray Beach Ocean Rescue lifeguard Conor Gorman said he saw a dark cloud drifting in the water, stretching up to the shore just south of Atlantic Avenue. Then there it was, washed up onto the beach.
Beachgoers rushed to the squid's aid. It was spitting out ink and seemed weak, Gorman said.
"It's used to being in places that are dark and black," he said. "To be in the sunshine on the beach was not a good spot."
The orange-and-maroon cephalopod, with its football sized-head and muscular tentacles, was difficult to grip, Gorman said. People placed it in a cooler and walked it out to sea.
"He wasn't doing too good," Gorman said. "He was swimming like straight down and shooting ink. He was trying to swim against the current."
Gorman walked out till he was about neck deep before releasing the squid water and it swam away.
"He'll probably get eaten by a shark," Gorman said. "But I'd rather have [the squid] die in the ocean where it's supposed to."
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission said squid populate Florida waters year round. But seeing one on land is another story.
"In the past there've been a few octopuses that came on to shore," said Ocean Rescue supervisor Robert Black, who's worked at the beach for six years. "I'd say a squid [sighting] is very unusual."
The other sea creatures making appearances this winter on South Florida shores are hundreds of man-of-war. They, too, should be sea-bound, lifeguards said, as the winter winds shift and blow away from the shore.
Staff Researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.
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