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Wisdom Wednesday | Whale Sharks

Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday 10/7/2020

Picture of Whale Shark by Instagram user Amy Mercer
Photo by Amy Mercer

Whale sharks are the largest fish on the planet and have about 3,000 tiny teeth (less than 6mm long), but they don’t use those teeth to eat. Whale sharks are filter feeders that eat plankton through their gills for much of their nourishment. They also eat squid, krill, and small fish. A whale shark can process more than 6,000 liters of water an hour through its gills. Whale sharks are in no way related to whales. Although they are sharks, they are very docile. A whale shark’s mouth is at the very front of its head—as opposed to the underside of the head like most sharks. They can reach up to 14m (46 feet!) in length and weigh up to 12 tons; that’s 24,000 pounds or nearly 11,000 kilos!! Whale sharks aren’t the fastest swimmers, reaching speeds no higher  than 5 kmph. They swim by moving  their bodies from side to side, unlike other sharks like the great white, who just use their tails to swim. It is thought that whale sharks may have a lifespan of 100 to 150 years.