We all know that the ocean is the hometown of many giant creatures including one of the largest species of sharks – The Whale Shark! These fascinating creatures are truly spectacular. To know how big Whale sharks can grow in length is perhaps the most difficult task to perform. Just imagine the size of a school bus; a Whale shark is almost the same size as it.
Let’s dive in with us to know the amazing facts related to the size of Whale sharks!
How Long Is a Whale Shark?
On average, the size of Whale sharks ranges from 5.5 to 10 meters or 18 to 33 feet in length. However, in some cases, the species may also grow even more than the average size. Whale sharks are dimorphic, meaning males and females have different sizes. The mature male can grow up to 8 to 9 meters or 30 feet whereas the mature female sharks can have a length of 14.5 meters or 48 feet – almost double the size of a whale!
What Is the Longest Whale Shark Ever Reported?
You must be shocked to know that the longest Whale sharks ever discovered can grow to a length of 18.8 meters or 61.7 feet. Over the years, there are many reports regarding the length of Whale sharks but not all are true. The long record of 61.7 feet is considered the accurate one because researchers measure the length of Whale sharks while surveying the marine megafauna. This may be the longest length of the Whale sharks ever recorded.
How Can Whale Sharks Grow So Long?
The predatory nature of the Whale sharks allows them to grow so long because when they become giant predators, they are no more prey to other animals. However, the young Whale pups are at risk when they are born. They have an average length of 21 to 25 inches which makes them vulnerable. As they grow in size, reaching the length of 10 meters, they become the deadliest predator of the ocean and are no more susceptible to other predators.
Diet Contributes to the Size of Whale Sharks – How?
The diet plays a key role in the growth and development of Whale sharks. Whale sharks are filter feeders, they do not hunt their prey instead they allow water to enter their open mouths, filter the foodstuff from it all and release the water. The dietary food items included in their menu are planktons, fish eggs, krill, and fish larvae. A young Whale shark needs at least 45 pounds of food in a day to maintain its physique.
Whale sharks are known as one of the largest species living in the oceans. The sharks can grow to an average length of 5 to 10 meters, but the longest sharks ever recorded have a maximum length of 18.8 meters. Interestingly, the mature female sharks are larger than the male sharks and the female Whale sharks are double the length of male sharks. The predatory nature and diet play a vital role in the growth and development of these incredible creatures of the ocean!