10 Real Animals That Seem Make-believe

Giant Squid
A giant squid, caught off the coast of New Zealand, is displayed at the Wellington dockside. Barry Durrant/Getty Images

Ancient lore is full of multi-limbed sea monsters such as the Scylla of Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey," which had 12 feet, six heads and a bark like a dog [source: Encyclopaedia Britannica]. But in 1873, scientists got their first inkling of a real-life creature that resembled this one, when a Newfoundland fisherman caught a large tentacle-laden sea animal inadvertently and sold it to an amateur naturalist, the Rev. Moses Harvey.

The giant squid (genus: Architeuthis), can grow to up to 43 feet (13 meters) in length, and weigh as much as a ton (907 kilograms). It has two eyes, a beak, eight arms, and two feeding tentacles equipped with sharp-toothed suckers that can grab prey as much as 33 feet (10 meters) away. Because the immense creature lives deep underwater, humans never saw a living one until 2006, when a research team in the Pacific Ocean south of Japan managed to hook a 24-foot (7.3 meter)-long specimen and pull it to the ocean surface [source: Smithsonian].