They fascinate thousands of people from all around the world; known as sharks, yet so peaceful. They are very rare and a delight for divers to see them. Whale Sharks! Blue Season Bali’s team loves them, as well. That is why we want to share some facts about them:
- Whale Sharks count as fish and not whales, because they are sharks. Actually, they are the largest known fish in the world! They can grow up to 12 meters (40 ft) and weigh more than 20 tons. Because of that they are called WHALE Sharks and they do have whale-attributes. First, as pointed out, they are massive. Second, Whale Sharks can also get really old, just like whales. They get up to 70 years. Third, they are filter feeders. This is probably the most obvious attribute that shows how close Whale Sharks are to whales. They almost exclusively feed on plankton, small squid and fish as their filter pads separate food from water.
- Whale Sharks are survivors. Can you imagine that they lived in the ocean’s of the world while dinosaurs ruled the land? We think this is mind-blowing!
- No one has ever seen Whale Sharks reproduce. Sounds incredible, right? But it’s true. As Whale Sharks are very rare and known as solitary animals no human has ever seen Whale Sharks reproduce or give birth. The only thing we know is that female Whale Sharks carry their eggs inside until the pups are fully developed. It is said that they can have up to 300 shark pups at once.
- Whale Sharks are not dangerous to divers. Because they have characteristics that belong to whales and they only feed from plankton and small fish, they are harmless to divers. Side fact about all sorts of sharks: Most shark species are very shy and are more likely to swim away than they are to attack you. Of course, you should always be educated about the kinds of sharks you may encounter on your dives and the appropriate way to engage with them.
- We spotted Whale Sharks around our dive sites in Nusa Penida this year! They are not commonly known to show themselves around Bali, but we’ve been lucky to catch an eye on them several times this year already. Normally Whale Sharks are found in open waters of the tropical oceans and not under 22°C. They don’t like depths so when you go diving you don’t even need to go that deep to spot them if they are there.
Have you ever been lucky enough to catch Whale Sharks underwater? Let us know all about it in the comments!