Always wanted to swim with Whale sharks? Polly Alford, Founder of ReefCI in Belize, has been fortunate enough to have many up close and personal encounters with these gentle giants. She is lovingly referred to in the area as the Whale Shark Whisperer!
Polly, shares 15 interesting facts about Whale sharks with you
- It is not a whale, it is the worlds largest fish, growing to over 40ft
- They can weigh over 30 metric tons (66,000 lb)
- It is estimated that they can live up to 100-150 years!
- They reach sexual maturity at age 30
- They are ovoviviparous, meaning the female carries her eggs until birth as opposed to dropping them in the ocean like other species of fish
- The female gives birth to live babies
- In July 1996 a female was captured pregnant with 300 eggs!
- They have huge mouths! Up to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) wide with 10 filter pads and around 350 rows of tiny teeth, up to 3000 teeth! Wow!
- Whale sharks are filter feeders. They consume food by swimming towards it with their mouth open engulfing the prey that enters their mouth
- Their diet consists mainly of plankton, krill, small fish, shrimp, larvae and algae among other small life forms.
- Unlike many other species of shark, the whale shark is not considered a threat to humans.
- They have thick skin, up to 4 inches (10 cm) thick
- They swim slowly at about 3 mph (5 kph).
- They have five large pairs of gills to pull oxygen out of the water
- Whale shark season in Belize is officially March - June, however for the past few years ReefCI guests have been lucky enough to swim with whale sharks from January through September.
Would you like to join ReefCi in Belize for a 1 or 2 week marine conservation dive trip? Check out the packages they offer and contact Polly directly.
ReefCI are a marine conservation company focusing on protecting and maintaining the marine environment. ReefCI guests help to collect valuable data about the whale sharks. They are lucky enough to swim with these amazing creatures and with NO other boats in the area!