Animal Kingdom Smackdown: Giant Squid v. Great White Shark

Animal Kingdom Smackdown: Giant Squid v. Great White Shark

Animal Kingdom Smackdown: Giant Squid v. Great White Shark

Jackson M. Meade, Contributor

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The oceans are home to some of the largest and deadliest animals on the planet. Home to the giant blue whale and deadly creatures like the box jellyfish, the ocean has a plethora of interesting creatures, many of which are still unknown. Two oceanic creatures that have severely interested mankind are sharks and squids. Both creatures have had their own infamous rise from multiple civilizations. Stories of these creatures have led to the creation of monsters and deities all over the world. One question to ask, however, is which is the stronger? Which creature, the shark or the squid, is more of a threat to mankind and to other aquatic organisms? In order to find out, I will be placing the most notorious of each species in a battle, deciding the true beast of the sea. The Great White Shark will thus be battling the giant squid.


Great white sharks have been known to grow up to 20 ft long, weigh up to 4200 lbs, and swim at speeds of up to 35 mph. Great whites are considered one of the largest carnivorous fish, and thus attack and eat large prey such as fish, birds, and seals. In order to hunt larger prey, the great white utilizes its impressive bite force of around 4100 lbs to take kill prey. These sharks live in hierarchical groups with a female shark at the top and the rest of the sharks at the bottom. It is not uncommon to see sharks within a group using combat to resolve conflicts. Great whites can be seen with bite marks from other great whites, indicating that the fighting can be lethal. Great whites also have the ability to detect prey using electromagnetic fields given off by any creature. This allows the shark to find prey if it is hiding or if it is immobile, detecting the creature using their own heartbeat. The greatest advantage of the great white is its teeth. A shark’s mouth is designed with a row of almost 3 inch long teeth and a row of smaller, serrated teeth behind the main teeth. This allows for the shark to tear off chunks of its prey with ease and replace main teeth at a quicker rate. The greatest disadvantage of the great white is their reliance on their fins and swimming. If a great white loses a fin, it is virtually unable to swim and will drown as these sharks need to swim to push oxygenated water through their gills. If a single fin is damaged, the shark’s chances of survival become very slim.


Giant squids are known to be able to grow up to 40 feet long and weigh around 600 pounds. The arms of squid are lined with hundreds of suction cups, allowing them to grab onto and keep a hold onto any creature or object. The ends of a squid’s arms have serrated suction cups to give extra grip and create small cuts on the body of an organism. The squids then use their powerful beaks to crush through their prey and its bones, ingesting the entire creature. These squids, like other squid species, are able to shoot ink in an area to disorient prey or an attacker. Giant squids are mostly solitary and are known to fight with sperm whales as these whales prey on the giant squids. The greatest advantage of the giant squid is its enormous eyes. The giant squid is believed to have the largest eyes of any living creature, only rivaled by another squid species. The giant squid needs these large eyes to be able to see in the extremely dark environments they live in. These squids live in some of the darkest parts of the ocean, so they need larger eyes to take in more light and see better in these dark areas. These eyes give them exceptional sight outside of these dark areas, allowing them to see the tiniest of movements. The greatest weakness of the squid is its ability to live in areas of deep pressure. Since giant squids live in areas with pressures of near 2500 psi, they have evolved to match this outside pressure, maintaining an internal pressure of 2500 psi. When a giant squid is brought to an area of lower external pressure, it is crushed on the inside by the extreme pressure and dies.


The giant squid and great white shark are drastically different creatures, each with their own abilities and needs for the fight. In order to make the fight fair, we will assume that these two are in an area with a pressure level that will not kill the giant squid immediately. Since great whites have been known to live at around 1200 meters deep with a psi of 1700, we will assume that the two are fighting in this area. When faced amongst one another, the great white seems like the clear victor, and it would appear to be true. The great white would be able to attack the squid with speed, going straight for the body of the squid. Even if the squid were to try to use ink to hide from the shark, the shark would be able to detect the squid using an electromagnetic field. The squid’s greatest defense would be rendered useless, however, the squid has quite a large advantage over the shark. The squid has numbers where the shark does not. The squid has 10 appendages that it needs to lose before it can no longer defend itself, whereas the shark must keep all of its appendages intact or it will die. The squid does not need to run and attack for long, it would just need to attach once to the shark and bite once with its beak. The squid would be able to hang on to the shark with its serrated suction cups and break through the body of the shark. The shark would either take heavy damage on its body or lose a fin. In either situation, the shark will die, either from a loss of blood or from drowning. The shark will have little hope in surviving if the squid attaches, and the squid has multiple opportunities to do so. The squid would come out as the victor and the deadlier monster of the sea.