FLORENCE, Ore. - Like a scene from a B-grade horror film for beachcombers in Florence, the squids made their silent invasion of the Oregon Coast on Tuesday morning.
They're called 'Red Devils' or 'Red Rockets' because they often jump out of the water but the common name is Humboldt squid.
Squid carcasses have dotted the sand at Heceta Beach, most of them 2 to 4 feet long
"You can see them, all the little spots all the way down there," said visitor Randy Winders, pointing south on the beach down towards Driftwood Shores.
Winders and other visitors were taken by surprise.
"It's crazy," Winders said. "I've never seen anything like it. You'll see a dead crab once in a while but nothing like this."
Scientists for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said the home base for the Humboldt squid is actually the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico, but for the past few years they've been moving up north.
"Ah, good question," said Brandon Ford, marine resource specialist with ODFW. "It could be El Nino; it could be global warming."
For Gina Castro-Brandt's anatomy students from Siuslaw High School, it turned into an exciting day.
With permission from a state biologist, the kids were able to dissect one of the squid visitors.
"This one is probably still partially alive," Castro-Brandt pointed out in a teaching moment, "because you can see the ink sacks bursting right here, with the change."
All in all, it's a squid visit the folks on the central coast will remember for a long time.
Brandon Ford of ODFW tells us the Humboldt Squid usually die after breeding and wash up on the beach, which is likely what happened this time in Florence.
He said a lot of tuna and salmon fishing crews often run into the squid. In Mexico, the squid are called Diablo Rojos.
Listen to Brandon Ford talk about the Red Rocket squid: