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Kraken Facts

Updated on May 7, 2015

5 Things You May Not Have Known About The Kraken

The legendary Kraken has haunted the dreams and imaginations of early sailors with its monstrous size and ferocious appetite since the 12th century. The Kraken, which is used to describe both individual creatures and groups of the them were documented by many ocean travelers but discounted as tales of the sea.

But repeat discoveries of giant gelatinous corpses washed up on beaches and the ability of oceanographers to view deeper and deeper into the oceans of the world has shown that the sailors may have been right about giant sea monsters they called Kraken all along.

Giant octopus attacks a ship
Giant octopus attacks a ship

5. The Name Kraken

In the modern German language the term Kraken is used to identify an octopus with the word Krake being used as the plural. The German term Kraken is also used to reference the legendary sea monster.

The term Kraken in Norway is a form of the word Krake which is used to describe the monster but is also used to mean frail, poor being or crooked, withered tree.

Krake in Scandinavian means and unhealthy animal or something twisted both of which seem to describe this beast from the deep quite well.

Image - Giant octopus attacking a ship

Giant squid being measured
Giant squid being measured

4. Description of the Beast

The Kraken is commonly described as a monstrous squid or octopus mixed with a crab. It was large enough that it was sometimes mistaken for an island and it was said that the real danger to sailors from the Kraken was the whirlpool it would create when it submerged.

It would attack ships with its giant tentacles which had hooks or claws at the ends and capsize them allowing it to eat the sailors that ended up in the water using it's huge beaked mouth.

It was said to have enormous eyes the size of dining plates or larger and measure in total length over 100 feet long. You can see why this monster was a terrifying tale for ancient sailors.

Despite the danger to sailors the Kraken was rumored to be surrounded by fish and was an attractive target for fishermen who would claim after a great haul that "You must have fished on Kraken".

Image - 28 ft Giant Squid

The Kraken

Attacked by a Kraken
Attacked by a Kraken

3. Earliest Reported Sighting

Stories of giant sea monsters have existed since mankind has learned to travel the seas but the first known recorded document of a creature by the name of Kraken was in the 12th century.

In 1250 A.D. a creature was described in an old Norwegian scientific work title Konungs skuggsja, which was an educational text written for the son of a king. The author described the feeding and mating habits as well a description of the monsters.

Later in 1735 A.D. the Kraken where classified in Systema Naturae as a cephalopod but would not reappear in future editions despite continued proof of their existence.

Image - Attacked by a Kraken Purchase print

The Kraken Dark Rum
The Kraken Dark Rum

2. The Kraken in Pop Culture

The mighty Kraken has been referenced many times in pop culture in the forms of movies, literature, and video games as well as other interesting products.

One of the most interesting is Kraken Rum with the slogan "Put a Beast in Your Belly". Seems this famous monster makes a great representative for all kinds of things. (See image on the right.)

The most famous modern literary reference to a Kraken like sea monster would be Jules Vernes Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in which captain Memo and his crew are attacked by giant octopus.

The Kraken have experienced a surge in popularity thanks to The Clash of the Titans in which Hades is asked by Zeus to "Release the Kraken!" Though it doesn't resemble the legendary sea monsters of ancient tales.

Image - Kraken Rum Advertisement

Colossal Octopus Holding Sailor
Colossal Octopus Holding Sailor

1. Possible Explanations

Deep water explorations are reveling new and interesting information about the creatures from the deep ocean including the giant squid and the Colossal Squid, which are two likely candidates for what ancient mariners had observed.

The colossal squid has been estimated to able to grow to approximately 48 feet in length and weight more than 1500 pounds. The largest ever caught was thought to be 33 feet long and weight over 1000 pounds but had a beak (solid bird beak like mouth structure) that was smaller than those found in sperm whale stomachs, who are the main predator of the colossal squid.

Image - Colossal Octopus Attacks a Ship from Wiki Commons

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      "Get Kracken" has now taken on a new meaning for me!

    • Hypersapien2 profile image

      Hypersapien2 4 years ago from U.S.

      Cool lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      @anonymous: nice that's funny!!

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