Whale sharks are the biggest species in the shark family growing up to 12m in length and weighing in at around 21 tonnes. These gentle giants are filter feeders, meaning they filter the water through their gills and extract tiny creatures (plankton) to eat. Thus they pose no real threat to humans.
Most scuba divers and avid snorkelers include an encounter with these massive fish on their bucket list. I was lucky enough to dive with these majestic animals more than once – the first time I saw one I was completing my Open Water certificate in Honduras- not being familiar with what this giant shark shaped animal was, you can probably imagine my anxiety as it swam quietly past us!! Then I was lucky enough to see more of these gentle giants while snorkelling in the Philippines.
Some of the places where whale sharks are commonly seen include Mozambique, Indonesia, Maldives, The Philippines and Thailand.
Did you know that the markings and spots on whale sharks are used to identify individuals? Much like a human finger print, no two sharks have the same markings.