As the largest fish in the sea, whose lengths are 40 feet or more, whale sharks have a huge menu that you can choose from; fortunately we humans are not on this list. Their favorite meal is the water plankton. It feeds by opening its huge mouths while swimming near the surface of the water to suck plankton and small animals into the mouth.
Here are ten exciting facts you may not know about these majestic marine creatures.
1- The whale shark does not belong to whales
Whale sharks are not associated in any way with whales, but it is fish and is considered the largest in the ocean. Although it is a shark, it does not pose any threat to humans. A whale shark can reach 12 meters and weigh up to 21.5 tons.
2- It is classified as Filter feeders that cannot be bitten or chewed.
Filter feeders are a subset of animals that feed by filtering suspended contents in the water. Whale sharks sift plankton through their gills for feeding. Plankton is the main source of its food, but it also eats shrimp, algae and other marine vegetable materials such as sardines, mackerel, squid and tuna. They also eat fish eggs.
3- Whale sharks are slow to swim and migrate for a long time.
These massive creatures move at a speed of no more than 4 kilometers per hour. A whale shark can travel about 12,874 km within three years.
4- It has thousands of small sized teeth.
Whale sharks have about 3000 small years, less than one inch long, helping them to eat shrimp, fish and small plankton.
5- Live for a long time.
Estimated life of these wonderful creatures from 70 to 100 years!
6- Little whale sharks, most of whom do not reach adulthood.
After birth, the mother leaves her young to defend herself and as a result, only 10% of the whale sharks actually live until they reach the age of majority at 30.
7- Live in warm places.
Whale sharks tend to warmer and are found in tropical waters around the world. Some have been seen in colder waters, such as those off the coast of New York. Most whale sharks are found in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific about 75 in a hundred of them. The rest of the 25 percent is found in the Atlantic Ocean.
8- Eggs hatch inside females, not in water.
Like most fish, the whale shark keeps eggs inside them until they hatch. The female gives birth to about 300 fish, but many do not reach maturity. There is some evidence to suggest that not all babies are born all at once, but over a long period.
9- Could dive to approximately 2000 meters
Most of the time is spent in the crustal or surface layer of the ocean that reaches a depth of 200 meters. Sometimes it dives to about 2000 meters for an unknown reason. It may be reaching these depths in order to search for food, especially when crossing the ocean water, food is little on the surface.
10- Whale sharks are at risk.
The main threat is fisheries, the lost net – Ghost net – which remains a decoy for fish, demand for their fins, liver oil, skin and meat.