5 Facts about Whale Sharks
The Whale Shark Season is about to start! Here are 5 Facts about Whale Sharks that you need to know.
Are you looking for an adventure you will never forget? Then we might have something for you: the whale shark season is about to start soon! From May to September, EcoColors will take you on a tour to meet these incredible creatures in their natural habitat and to swim with the harmless giants of the sea. Here are some interesting facts about whale sharks.
The largest fish in the sea
The whale shark is actually the largest known fish in the sea; it can reach lengths of 12 meters and weigh approximately 20.6 tons! Therefore, whale sharks are bigger than great white sharks (4.6 to 6.1 meters), which are sometimes mistaken to be the largest shark.
Here you can see the size of a whale shark compared to the size of a bus. Astonishing, right?
Did you know that each whale shark has a unique pattern of white spots on their backs and sides? Due to this, and of course their size and other characteristics, all whale sharks look different. Maybe you can spot the differences while swimming with them?
Are you nervous now? Don’t worry, whale sharks may be the largest of all kinds of sharks, but they are completely harmless for humans. This is because they are filter feeders, which means they just swim around with their mouth wide open and filter everything that comes in their way (by the way, their mouth is 1.5 meters wide!). They have many rows of teeth, which they don’t need since they feed on plankton, fish eggs, small squids or fishes.
Whale sharks prefer warm waters, they are found in tropical waters all over the oceans. Sometimes they are also seen in cooler waters, as for example off the coast of New York, but normally you can find them off the coast of southern and eastern parts of South Africa, in the South Atlantic Ocean, off the coasts of Australia, India, Honduras, Philippines, Madagascar, and in many more tropical waters. In 2011, more than 400 whale sharks showed up off the Yucatan Coast, it was one of the largest gatherings of sharks recorded. So, you are at the right spot if you want to meet these humble giants!
Whale or shark?
Whale sharks are in no way related to whales, but they share many similarities with them. Firstly, their size reminds us humans of whales, secondly, like most whales they pose no threat to us. Furthermore, they are filter feeders as for example baleen whales.