Whale Shark is the largest among all known fish species of the world. The biggest recorded specimen is said to be 12.65 m long (42.5 ft). The weight of the fish was around 47000 lb!. There are many reports of a whale shark as long as 18 m.
It is big like a whale and it is not the only similarity. A whale shark is also a filter feeder like a blue whale. It has a 5 ft wide mouth with 399 to 350 small teethes. But it feeds on plankton and other very small sea animals. It never haunts even a fish. Krill, fish eggs, red crab larvae, and very small fishes and squids.
There are two other species of shark which are filter feeder; "Megamouth" shark and the Basking shark. The eggs of fishes and the corals are their favorite food. The teeth of the animal are almost useless. It opens its mouth and swim forward to pass the sea water through its filter which separates edible items from the water. It also can suck water from the sea into its mouth.
The whale sharks like the warm waters. It can be seen around the tropical and warm temperate seas. They lives in open seas but generally avoid the very deep areas of the ocean.
The color of these shakes is grey. They belly of the shark is white. There are pale yellow spots and stripes in its body. The pattern of the spots and stripes are unique in each specimen of the shark. There are three ridges along its sides. It has a very thick skin which can be as thick as 4 inches.
It is big but not dangerous. It is a very large shark but it never attacks human. Whale sharks are so docile that you can catch its fin for a ride during a swim. The smaller whale sharks also very harmless creatures which love to play with the swimmers.
The whale sharks give baths like a true whale. The eggs remain in the mother’s body and the pregnant female shark gives birth of the child shark. He pups can be as long as 2 ft. The female do not gives birth to 200 or 300 pups at once. They are known to give birth for long span of time.
It took almost 30 years for a Whale Shark to be adult. These sharks can live as long as 100 years. This long maturity period and lower birth rate has made this animal vulnerable.
In Vietnamese culture, the whale shark is revered as a deity called Cá Ông, which literally translates as "Lord Fish".