Many divers come to the Galapagos hoping to see the whale shark.
And no wonder, it’s huge and docile.
Who would not want to swim with a gigantic harmless fish? It would be amazing! And while it is on the list of Galapagos animals that you can see while diving, it isn’t a common sighting.
Here is a list of some of the things that make the whale shark so unique and interesting.
16 Interesting Facts About The Whale Shark
The whale shark …
- is the worlds largest fish, growing to over 12.65 meters (40 ft)
- weighs over 30 metric tons (66,000 lb)
- eats mostly plankton
- is a filter-feeder, sucking water in through it’s mouth then pushing it out through the gills. Whatever food (anything exceeding 2-3 mm) is left, gets swallowed
- lives to over 70 years
- reaches sexual maturity at 30
- is found in tropical and warm oceans
- has pale yellow or white stripes and dots in a checker pattern all over it’s grey back
- is docile and at times playful with divers
- likes to live alone, groups have very rarely been seen
- lives in open water
- usually swims and feeds near the top of the water
- has thick skin, up to 4 inches (10 cm) thick
- swims slowly at about 3 mph (5 kph)
- has a really big mouth, up to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) wide with 10 filter pads and around 350 rows of tiny teeth
- gives birth to live young
Don’t Get Too Close
While the whale shark is docile, it can be slightly dangerous, so it’s wise to keep a safe distance.
There have been reports of people almost being sucked into it’s huge mouth, by mistake of course. And of people getting hit because of swimming to close to it’s powerful tail. The whale shark is so large that encounters like these could lead to serious injury.
Plan your Galapagos dive adventure – and who knows? Maybe you’ll get to swim with a whale shark!
Have you ever swam with a whale shark? Please tell us about it by commenting on this post.