The whale shark is a slow-moving carpet shark found in warm waters. Moreover, this giant is the largest fish in the world! Thus, the largest specie ever confirmed was 62 feet long! However, due to its name, this fish is not a whale, but a shark. Yet, it is big as a whale, and a filter-feeder.
Where can we find the whale shark?
Like its relative, the tiger shark, this one is also found in tropical waters all over the world. Having that in mind, you will hardly see this fish in the water below 21 degrees. However, there are exceptions. Some species have been spotted in cooler waters, such as those off the coast of New York. Yet, most whale sharks are found in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Finally, our vicious friend is sometimes seen in depths of even 5900 feet.
How does the whale shark look?
Being the largest fish in the world, our shark can grow up to 40 feet long and weigh 36,000 pounds! That’s about the size of a school bus! Now, we all know the great white is considered as the largest. In fact, it is, but the great white is the largest predatory fish. Our whale shark is not a predator, but a filter-feeder. So, this shark has a flattened head and a blunt snout above its mouth. The back and side are gray to brown with white spots and pale stripes. Finally, like the giraffe or zebra, each shark has its own unique pattern of spots.
Unlike its most relatives, the whale shark does not attack and tear apart its prey. Although a carnivore, our friend’s main meal are planktons. Therefore, our filter-feeder will open its mouth, let the water come in, and its body then filters out food. Besides planktons, the shark will also feed on shrimps, algae, sardines, tuna, and squid. Finally, it will also eat fish eggs.
Although the female shark produces eggs, the young hatch inside the mother. After that, our female will give birth to about 300 live young. Yet, many of them don’t reach maturity. When born, the babies are 16 to 24 inches long. Finally, having a long childhood, at the age of 25, the offspring are ready to have their own young.
Did you know whale shark can live up to 150 years? That’s a lot, right?
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