Whale Shark Facts For Kids – Complete Whale Shark Information
Whale Shark is the largest fish specie in the world. This large size not only makes it unique but also an interesting fish to study. We have gathered complete set of Whale Shark Facts for Kids that will provide you all the Whale Shark Information you need. We have answered all the questions that frequently asked about the whale shark. You are going to learn about its name, scientific classification, anatomy, size, weight, diet, habitat, speed, lifecycle, reproduction, size comparison, range , migration and other interesting information.
Whale Shark Facts For Kids
1. What Is A Whale Shark
Whale Shark is the largest existing species of fish.
Whale Shark is a filter-feeder, slow-mover and is the largest existing non-mammalian vertebrate existing on the earth.
Whale Shark belongs to the order Orectolobiformes, members of which are commonly called “Carpet Sharks” due to their resemblance with ornamented patterns of carpets.
2. Whale Shark Scientific Name
The scientific name of Whale Shark is “Rhincodon typus”.
3. Whale Shark Common Name
The common names of Whale Shark in different languages are:
“Whale Shark” in English
“Chagrin” in French
“Jinbei Zame” in Japanese
“Dimero” in Spanish
“Rekin Wielorybi” in Polish
“Rauhhai” in German
“Thimingal Sura” in Tamil
“Tubario Baleia” in Portuguese
“Yu Paus” in Malay
“Walvishaai” in Afrikaans
4. Why Is A Whale Shark Called A Whale Shark
A Whale Shark is called a Whale Shark due to its huge size like a whale, but not because it is a species of whale.
It is also a filter-feeder like Baleen Whales.
5. What Does A Whale Shark Look Like
A Whale Shark is a giant ocean animal that has a massive size like a whale.
It has a grey body with a whitish belly.
Its massively spotted skin looks like an ornamented carpet.
6. Is A Whale Shark A Shark
Yes, Whale Shark is a shark as it possesses all characteristics of sharks.
7. What Makes A Whale Shark A Shark
A Whale Shark has all the 33 characteristics of a shark.
Some of the basic characteristics are:
Five pairs of gills (sharks must have 5 to 7 gills pairs)
Unfused pectoral fins to the head
8. Is A Whale Shark A Mammal
No, the Whale Shark is not a mammal as it is not a whale (whale is a mammal and their offspring are fed by the mother’s milk).
Instead, the Whale Shark is a fish.
9. Whale Shark Classification
Integrated Taxonomic Information System classified Whale Shark as following:
Super Class :
10. How Big Is A Whale Shark – Whale Shark Size
Whale Shark is the world’s largest non-mammalian vertebrate.
The estimated average size of an adult Whale Shark is about 32 feet (9.8 meters) and 20,000 pounds (9 tons).
It can open its mouth about 5 feet wide.
Some specimens of more than 59 feet (18 meters) have also been reported.
In 1949, a specimen was caught in Karachi, Pakistan, which is still considered as the largest verified specimen.
It had a body length of 41.5 feet (12.65 meters), weighed up to 47,000 pounds (21.5 tons) and had a circumference or girth of 32 feet (7 meters).
11. How Big Do Whale Sharks Get – Average Whale Shark Size
The average size of an adult Whale Shark is estimated to be about 32 feet (9.8 meters) in length and 20,000 pounds (9 tons) in weight.
Whale Sharks can grow up to 50 feet (15.24 meters) long and weigh 32,000 pounds (16 tons).
12. How Long Is A Whale Shark – Whale Shark Length
The average length of an adult Whale Shark is approximately 9.8 meters (32 feet).
Several specimens have been reported of more than 18 meters in length.
13. Whale Shark Compared To Blue Whale
Mammal and largest animal on the earth
Weighs 16 to 20 tons and has body length from 18 to 40 feet
Weighs about 200 tons and has a body length of about 100 feet
Has a flattened head and two sets of dorsal fins that are directed towards the back
Has a flat and broad head and tapered body shape
Has grey to brown skin color with spots among pale horizontal and vertical strips
Looks blue underwater while bluish grey outside water
Sexually matures at the age of 30 years
Sexually matures at the age of 5 to 10 years
Give birth once in 2 to 3 years
The gestation period is unknown
Has 10 to 12 months gestation period
The newborn has 40 to 60 cm body length
The newborn has 25 feet body length and weighs up to 3 tons
Babies consume planktons
Baby consumes 600 liters milk per day and gain 90 kg weight per day during the first year of its life
Lives from 70 to 100 years
Has a lifespan of about 80 years
Eats about 21 kg plankton per day
Eats about 40 million krill per day that weighs about 3,600 kg
Has a swimming speed of about 5 km/h when feeding
Has an average speed of 5 km/h (3 miles per hour)
Normal swimming speed is 20 km/h and fastest is 50 km/h
Found in tropical, warm-temperate and open seas
It is found in all oceans except the Arctic Ocean
14. Whale Shark Compared To Human
Despite its huge size, a Whale Shark poses no significant threats to humans.
A Whale Shark is a filter-feeder and can eat only plankton. Humans and other large sized animal are not included in their menu.
Whale Sharks are naturally gentle and sometimes allow divers to swim along with them.
Fiona Ayerst, an underwater wild photographer, photographed Whale Sharks swimming closely with humans without posing any threat.
15. How Much Does A Whale Shark Weigh – Whale Shark Weight
The average weight of an adult Whale Shark is about 20,000 pounds (9 tons).
The heaviest Whale Shark had a body weight of about 47,000 pounds (21.5 tons).
16. Largest Whale Shark – Biggest Whale Shark In The World
The biggest verified Whale Shark was caught in 1949, in Karachi (Pakistan) near the Baba Island.
It had a body length of about 41.5 feet (12.65 meters) and a girth of 23 feet (7 meters).
It weighed approximately 47,000 pounds (21.5 tons).
Another specimen was found in 2012 floating about 93 miles (150 km ) off the Karachi coast (Pakistan).
Its length was estimated between 36 and 39 feet (11 and 12 meters) with a weight of about 33,000 pounds (15,000 kg).
17. Whale Shark Size Comparison
In the following table, the size of Whale Shark is compared with some other sharks.
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