The whale shark is the largest fish on the planet. It is called “whale” because of its size, and not because it is related to them.
Whale sharks live in the warm waters of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Ocean. They are migratory species, which means that they often change their location, depending on the availability of food. Here in the north of Quintana Roo State, we are lucky enough to have these remarkable visitors from May to September aprox.
Whale Sharks are huge, graceful, and beautifully-colored; they are not really voracious predators, but feed on some of the tiniest creatures in the ocean.
Since they are very peaceful and friendly creatures, many have had opportunity to freely swim with them.
Interesting Whale shark Facts:
- Whale sharks are very large animals. They can reach 65 feet in length and weigh up to 75,000 pounds.
- Their body coloration provides camouflage in the ocean. Each whale shark has unique pattern of stripes and dots. Researchers use these patterns for identification of individual whale sharks.
- Despite their huge size, whale sharks feed on plankton. They eat plankton, small crustaceans and fish, which they filter from the sea water.
- Whale shark has 4.9 feet wide mouth with 4000 teeth arranged in 350 rows. Although this sounds scary, teeth are very small (size of a match head) and look like a rasp.
- Whale shark is not a fast swimmer. It swims 3 miles per hour.
- Whale sharks have a skeleton made of cartilage instead of bones. Cartilage is flexible and tough, but it easily decays after death.
- Whale sharks are solitary creatures. They can be rarely seen in the groups.
- Whale sharks become sexually mature at the age of 30. Females are ovoviviparous, which means that they lay eggs inside their body and give birth to live babies.
- Female may have hundreds of thousand eggs inside her body, but only few of them (no more than 300) will develop fully. Other eggs serve as the source of energy for developing embryos. Pups are 2 feet long at birth.
- Whale shark lives between 60 and 100 years. Some scientists speculate that they may survive even longer than 100 years!
When visiting The Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres, don’t miss the incredible experience of meeting the kind giants of our seas. Get more info with your hotel concierge.
During the whale shark tour, it is necessary to follow certain rules of conduct to protect your security and generate the least possible impact on this beautiful creatures.
- Carefully get off the boat, avoid any diving.
- Do not use camera with flash, this could confuse and stress them.
- Maintain a minimum distance of 2 meter from the whale shark.
- Do not obstruct the whale shark. Don’t swim in front of them.
- Do not wear sunblock (not even if is a biodegradable one), help us to preserve the environment.
Enjoy this Video from the Whale Sharks of Holbox island!