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?
Unlike the whales of our oceans, whale sharks are not mammals. Instead whale sharks belong to a group of fish known as cartilaginous fish. It just so happens that the blue whale, which is a mammal, is the largest animal that's ever lived on planet earth. Whereas the whale shark is the largest species of any fish and is not a mammal. The Guinness Book of Records whale shark was 12.65 metres (42.5 feet) long.
Is a whale shark a mammal or a fish?
Despite the name including the word 'whale', a whale shark is in fact a fish and not a mammal. Whale sharks are actually the largest fish in our oceans. They are a part of the shark family, and belong to a group of fish species known as cartilaginous fish or Chondrichthyes.
Whale sharks are so named simply because of their colossal size. The Guinness Book of Records whale shark was 12.65 metres (42.5 feet) long.
In comparison whales, for example the blue whale, are mammals and not fish.
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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