10 Things to know about Swimming With Whale Sharks out off Cancun
Can we touch the whale shark?
Is a Whale Shark a Whale or a Fish?
NO. The Mexican Government has strict guidelines for whale shark tours in the protected biosphere area. Swimmers must stay atleast 3 metres away from the whale shark. Sometimes if people get in their way then the whale sharks will dive down.
The name "whale shark" refers to the fish's size, being as large as some species of whales, and also to its being a filter feeder like baleen whales. It can grow up to 5o feet and weigh 20 tons. The life span is between 100 - 150 years.
Do Whale Sharks swim in pods?
Thats funny because some people who sell whale shark tours actually say that. Those are the people who have no knowledge or experience and are just after your money. Whale sharks are inherently solitary souls, only meeting up briefly to mate. They don't travel in pods, so the only time you'll experience them together in large numbers is when there is a buffet of food available for them. A group of sharks is called a herd, frenzy, gam, school or shiver
Can a Whale Shark Harm Me?
Whale Sharks eat tiny plankton and small fish. Humans are not on their diet.
The largest congregation of Whale Sharks is off the coast of Cancun.
Each year hundreds of whale sharks migrate to an area just off the coast of Cancun,Mexico for one reason, to eat on the abundant food supply in the winter months. There are only a few places in the world where one can witness this amazing experience.
How are Whale Sharks identified?
Whale sharks are identifiable by their white dots and no two whale sharks are alike. It is their fingerprint and on the left side of the whale shark by the gills. There are organizations that track whale sharks by photographing that area on a whale shark. Maybe you will be lucky and can name a whale shark you see and photograph. check out www.whaleshark.org
What is the Global status of Whale Shark Populations?
Currently there is no large estimate of the global whale shark population. The species is considered endangered by the IUCN due to the impacts of fisheries, bycatch losses, and vessel strikes, combined with its long lifespan and late maturation
How big is a Whale Sharks throat?
When you first see the whale shark swimming towards you with its huge mouth wide open you will feel intimidated or frightened. The mouth can sometimes be as wide as 6 feet. Inside are thousands of tiny sized teeth. The throat itself is actually about the size of a US Quarter coin.
How much water does a Whale Shark filter through its mouth when it is feeding?
A whale shark can process more than 6,000 liters of water an hour through its gills.
How do Whale Sharks reproduce?
Neither mating nor pupping of whale sharks has been observed. A pregnant whale shark was captured in 1996 with 300 pups. This indicated whale sharks are ovoviviparous. The eggs remain in the body and the females give birth to live young at different stages, which are 16 to 24 inches long.