Do you wonder is a whale shark a mammal?
If you’ve ever wondered is a whale shark a mammal, this article will inform you about the facts. Whale sharks are huge creatures and because their name includes the word ‘whale‘, does this make them mammals?
So is a whale shark a mammal or a fish? No whale sharks are not mammals they are the largest fish in the oceans. The only reason why whale sharks include “whale” in their name is purely because of its immense size not because it’s a mammal. Whale sharks have gills like all fish do and belong to a group of fish known as cartilaginous fish.
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Is a whale shark a mammal or a fish?
Despite the name of a whale shark including the word ‘whale‘, which are mammals, a whale shark is in fact a fish. Whale sharks don’t have mammary glands to suckle their young and they are not warm blooded like mammals. They don’t have lungs like whales and dolphins have, but instead use gills to extract oxygen from the water.
And although Great White Sharks are huge, they are quite small in comparison to a whale shark! However, despite their size, whale sharks are gentle giants. They eat plankton and are more or less harmless to humans.
Whale sharks are a part of the shark family, which belong to a group of fish species known as cartilaginous fish or Chondrichthyes.
Whale shark fun facts
Here are a few whale shark fun facts:
- Whale sharks can grow to over 12 metres (40 feet) in length.
- A whale shark’s mouth can be as wide as 1.5 metres (5 feet).
- These huge creatures are gentle giants and are not aggressive nor are they a danger to humans or scuba divers.
- Whale sharks have 3,000 tiny teeth.
- These huge creatures are carnivorous filter feeders and eat krill, plankton and other small fish.
- Whale sharks can weigh over 20 tons.
- Their average life span is around 70 years.
- The scientific name for a whale shark is Rhincodon typus.
To read more about whale shark fun facts, take a look at this article on the best place to scuba dive with whale sharks.
Best place to see whale sharks
If you’re interested in swimming or scuba diving with a whale shark, you need to know the best spots around the world to dive.
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