how big is a whale shark? What do whale sharks eat

What is the size of a whale shark?

Whale Shark is a common name for this species of shark.

Rhincodon typus, Rhincodon typus, Rhincodon typus, Rhincodon typus


Carnivore diet



HEIGHT: 18 to 32.8 ft.


The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the world’s largest known living fish species and a slow-moving channel predator of rug sharks. The longest confirmed individual measured 18.8 metres in length (61.7 ft).

The whale shark holds numerous world records for size, the most eminent of which is that it is by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate. It is the only surviving member of the Rhincodon type and the only living member of the Rhincodontidae family, which belongs to the Elasmobranchii subclass of the Chondrichthyes class. Prior to 1984, it was assigned to the Rhinodontidae family as Rhiniodon.

The whale shark can be found in broad tropical oceans and is rarely encountered in water below 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit).

Whale shark life spans have been estimated to be 80-130 years in studies looking at vertebral development groups and the development rates of free-swimming sharks.

Whale sharks have large mouths and are channel feeders, a feeding mode found in only two sharks: the megamouth shark and the lolling shark. They only eat plankton and small fish and pose no threat to people.


how big is a whale shark

The mouths of whale sharks can have up to 300 lines of tiny teeth and 20 channel cushions, which they employ to channel feed.

[15] Whale sharks, unlike many other sharks, have their mouths on the front of their heads rather than on the underside.

The mouth of a 12.1 m (39.7 ft) whale shark was measured to be 1.55 m (5.1 ft) across. With two small eyes at the front corners, the head is wide and level. Spiracles are located just behind the eyes. Whale sharks have five sets of gills, each of which is enormous. Their complexion is dark with a white paunch, with pale dim or white dots and stripes that are unique to each individual. It has a 15-cm thick skin that is extremely hard and unpleasant to the touch. Three prominent edges run down the sides of the whale shark, beginning above and below the head and ending at the caudal peduncle.

Two dorsal balances, a couple of pectoral balances, a couple of pelvic blades, and a single average butt-centric balance make up the shark’s anatomy. The upper flap of the tail is larger than the lower projection (heterocercal).

In contrast to their body denticles, whale sharks have dermal denticles on the outer layer of their eyeballs that are structured differently. These denticles, together with the whale shark’s ability to withdraw its eye deep into its socket, protect the eye from damage.

What is the size of a Whale Shark?

how big is a whale shark

Whale sharks can grow up to 60 feet long, while starting out at only 25 inches!

The whale shark’s name combines two of the largest ocean creatures, so it’s no surprise that it’s massive. To be honest, it’s so massive that it’s earned the title of world’s largest shark!

The largest whale shark ever reported was 61.7 feet in length. The famous Hollywood sign’s letters are only 49 feet tall! However, most of these fragile monsters will be between 18 and 32.8 feet long, with a 30-foot whale shark being spotted in late spring 2021. But what about when they’ve only recently been born? Whale sharks in their infancy are only 25 inches long, about as long as the cushion you’re sitting on!

The mouth of a whale shark can be up to four feet wide. Whale sharks, unlike many other sharks you may be familiar with, such as the magnificent white shark, only eat little things like plankton and prawns due to their small teeth.

While the whale shark’s size is impressive, it is its weight that is the most important factor. A single adult whale shark can weigh up to 41,000 pounds, which is equivalent to three African elephants.

Because it has a skeleton composed of ligament rather than true bones, it’s difficult to know how long the whale sharks of the past lived, whether it was years or years ago. Nonetheless, if they were anything like the whale sharks we see today, they were perhaps the greatest beast on the planet!

What is the size of a whale shark? There are also four other interesting facts about whale sharks.

how big is a whale shark

  1. These aren’t whales, but they are the world’s largest fish.

These massive creatures can reach lengths of up to 39 feet. Regardless, whale sharks are frequently referred to be “gentle monsters,” despite their size.

  1. Eating is a difficult task.

Whale sharks are channel feeders, meaning they can’t bite or nibble. Through their gills, they can handle more than 1585 gallons of water each hour. Despite the fact that a whale shark’s mouth can be four feet wide, its teeth are so little that they can feed small crustaceans, fish, and plankton by using their gill rakers as an attraction channel.

  1. They may be really old.

It is estimated that only about 10% of whale sharks conceived survive to adulthood; nevertheless, those that do may live to be 150 years old.

  1. They’re slow swimmers who travel a long distance.

Aside from the Mediterranean Sea, whale sharks can be found in all calm and tropical waters across the world, and they migrate thousands of kilometres to different feeding places. Moving is, however, slow, as they travel at speeds of only a few miles per hour.

  1. They’re in danger alongside a variety of sharks.

Many sharks are caught in fishing gear by chance, as well as caught specifically for their blades, which are a delicacy in Asia. Their seaside property is also in jeopardy. Plastic contamination could cause snares or be ingested, especially by channel feeders, due to environmental change warming the water and altering the two dwelling spaces, prey, and shark population fluctuations.