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Whale Shark

Line of sharks

Photo of a Whale Shark Photographer: Lars Bindholt

Map showing the Whale Shark's habitat
The Whale Shark is the biggest fish of the world, it can be up to 53 ft. long and weigh more than 13 tonnes. Most of the time Whale Sharks do not get bigger than 33 ft. to 40 ft. long, when they are fully grown. The Whale Shark gives birth to live young ones which are 20 in. to 24 in. long. There can be between 100 and 200 young ones in every litter.

The Whale Shark has a long conical body, with a white belly and the rest of the shark's body is dark with light stripes along and abeam. The Whale Shark has also many light spots all over its body.

The Whale Shark is harmless and the shark has become a target to many divers who want to swim together with this slowly swimming shark (about 2 mph), and the shark allows the divers to be around it. The divers just have to beware of one thing, the Whale Shark's powerful tail which can stun a diver. The Whale Shark's skin is full of small skin teeth which are very similar to sandpaper.

The Whale Shark has very small eyes and a huge mouth. When the mouth is open the water is filtered for food. The Whale Shark can filter op to 25,000 US gallons of water every hour. The Whale Shark feed on plankton, small fish, Ten-Armed Cuttlefish, big fish like Mackerel and small Tuna.

The Whale Shark lives in hot water from 30 degree north to 40 degree south. The Biggest schools of Whale Sharks can be seen in March to May with the preserved Ningaloo Reef near the North West Australia.

The Whale Shark moves in a temperature at 21 to 25 oC (70-77 oF) near the surface when it eats. The Whale Shark eat both at daytime and nighttime. The Whale Shark is thought to go to deeper water, but it is not known how deep it can go, when it is not near shore.

Link to the shark index