Behavior

The whale shark is a slow moving filter-feeder. It is capable of reaching depths of over 4000 ft. The whale shark can be solitary although there have been sightings of schools of over 400 whale sharks.

Physical Characteristics

The whale shark is the largest fish in the world and can reach 60 ft. To put it in perspective, they are usually about as large as a school bus but can grow 20 ft longer. They have 300 to 350 rows of small teeth and 10 filter pads that help filter food out of the water. Whale sharks have white spots on their back which was referred to in Kenyan mythology as shillings (coins) dropped from the gods.

What Does A Whale Shark Eat?

Whale sharks are filter-feeders and mostly eat plankton, macro-algae and krill but there are reports of whale sharks eating small fish. Its 5 foot wide mouth is capable of sucking up large amounts of water containing food. The water is passed along the filter pads and the water exits through the gills, leaving the food in the back of the whale sharks mouth.

Claim to Fame

The whale shark is the largest fish in the ocean.They also are docile and sometimes allow humans to hitch a ride on their backs.

Shark Attacks

Whale sharks are not a danger to humans and tend to be docile and gentle. There was one incident where a diver reported being sucked into the whale sharks mouth before escaping. Whale sharks have much more to fear of humans and has been listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.