Giant squids inhabit all the oceans in the world, although they tend to avoid warm tropical waters and frigid arctic areas. They hunt in the deep ocean at depths between 300 and 1000 meters.
Ancient writers Aristotle, in the fourth century BCE, and Pliny the Elder, in the first century CE, described giant squid in their writings, but the first documented account of a giant squid washing ashore was in Malmo, Sweden in 1545. As of 2011, people had reported almost 700 sightings, mostly of dead squid. The largest number were sighted in the Atlantic Ocean, with almost as many also sighted in the Pacific. Only 20 had been seen in the Indian Ocean and two in the Mediterranean Sea, as of 2007.
In 2001, Discovery Channel first aired footage of live giant squids, captured in the waters off New Zealand, although the specimens were only in the larval stage. In January 2002, the first picture of a live, adult squid was taken off the coast of Japan. In September 2004, the first photographs of a giant squid in its natural habitat were taken near the Ogasawara Islands in Japan. The research team spent two years exploring the waters with baited lines to capture the footage. In 2006, the first video footage of live giant squids was taken in the Sea of Cortez near Mexico. In 2012, Discovery Channel and NHK took 23 minutes of video footage of a live squid near the Ogasawara Islands.