Ok, I should not pick favorites, but I think these incredible massive creatures of the sea are probably at the top of my list. These sharks are not the man eaters you might find in killer shark movies like Jaws, they are actually considered gentle giants despite there massive size.
Location: Mesoamerican Reef, Coastal East Africa, Gulf of California, Coral Triangle
Population: Approx. 7000
Even though they have whale in their name, Whale Sharks are not whales, they are the largest fish living today. We mentioned their massive size, they can grow to 40 feet in length, think of the size of a school bus, and 21.5 tons in weight. The largest recorded size was 66ft! Whale sharks can live, 70-100 the longest know living for approximate 150 years, amazing right. Though they only swim about 3 mph, they travel massive distance each year.
Whale sharks are filter feeders and sieve plankton through their gills for much of their nourishment. They also sieve squid, krill, and small fish. Although they don’t bite or chew, Whale Sharks actually do have teeth, thousands of them. Whale sharks have about 3,000 tiny teeth, less than 1-inch long, that help them eat small shrimp, fish and plankton. While adult whale sharks are often found feeding at the surface, they have been known to dive to depths as deep as 3280 ft.
Like human fingerprints, whale sharks have a unique pattern of spots which allow individual sharks to be identified. By taking photos and cataloguing them, WWF has identified 458 different whale sharks in the Philippines. (source)
Hope you enjoyed some fun facts out the majestic Whale Shark. Click here to learn more about the Whale Shark, what is being done to help their populations, and how you might get involved. (source: WWF, Live Science, PADI, Aurifil)
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