Despite their tremendous size and intimidating appearance, whale sharks are commonly docile and approachable. Please keep your distance, giving them the respect and space they deserve.
Whale sharks can grow to 12.2 meters (40 feet) and weigh as much as 40 tons by some estimates! The largest reported whale shark was 20 meters, but it is uncommon to see them longer than 12 meters. They have broad, flat heads with short snouts and their backs have an interesting white, yellow, and grey checkerboard pattern. It is unknown how long whale sharks can live, however, scientists believe they can live approximately 60-100 years.
Whale sharks are found in all tropical and warm-temperate seas around the world, preferring water temperatures of 20-25°C (68-77°F).
Whale sharks eat mostly small organisms like plankton, schooling fish, and squid, which they strain from the water as they swim with their meter-long mouths and specialized teeth.
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