Whale Shark Facts
70 to 100 years
Whale sharks are filter feeders, meaning that they take in a large amount of water, straining out their diet from the water. The whale shark is one of only three filter-feeding shark species. It mainly feeds on plankton, which includes krill, copepods, and fish eggs. They also feed on clouds of eggs during mass fish spawnings.
Juvenile whale sharks have been known to be attacked by blue marlins and blue sharks. The whale shark’s size deters many predators from attacking.
Whale sharks have very large mouths and their mouths have over 300 rows of tiny teeth. They are the biggest shark species in the ocean. Unlike other sharks, whale sharks are filter feeders and have a mouth at the front of their head instead of on the underside of their head. Its head is wide and flat with eyes at the front corners of its head. The whale shark has dark gray skin with a white belly. Its skin is very thick and can be up to 6 inches thick in some areas. Their skin is also lined with white dots and stripes that are unique to every shark.
There very little known about the behavior of whale sharks. However, they are docile towards humans, meaning that they do not harm humans. They are generally solitary creatures, meaning that they live alone; but, whale sharks will hunt together during plankton blooms. The giant fish give birth to live young, meaning that the shark is not hatched from an egg at birth.
Whale sharks are in high demand at international meat markets. Their meat, fins, oil, and skin are highly valued across the globe. Also, whale sharks can be accidentally caught by fishermen, leaving the gentle giants wounded or killed. Habitat loss also plays a major role in the loss of whale sharks. As the Great Barrier Reef and other Reefs continue to die, whale sharks are forced to relocate to find safety and food. Oil spills have also been found to hurt and kill whale sharks as the black oil infects the animals’ blood and body.
How can you Help?
Learn everything you can about Whale Sharks and share with others.
Help with marine conservation efforts to keep oceans clean of ppollution.
Avoid reef overfishing or illegal poaching of whale sharks.
Don’t eat exotic animal products.