Picture of whale shark

Is a Whale Shark a Whale?

Are whale sharks, whales or sharks? To answer that question, lets go back to 1828 when this animal was first documented. Off the coast of South Africa a whale shark was collected examined and thus named. Even though the fish belongs to the same family as sharks, it was given the name whale shark mostly because of its size. One thing that these fish are, is big. Average adult whale sharks are about 32ft long and about 20,000lbs!  They have a mouth that is about 5 feet wide and contains 300 to 350 rows of very tiny teeth! These animals however are real gentle giants and have not been known to pose any threat to humans. These sharks are filter feeders, meaning that they swim around filtering small plankton out of the water. Although it is not suggest to interact with the sharks due to their wild nature and size, many divers have reported the sharks seemed to play and were interested without being aggressive.

Whale Sharks and Florida

When you come to Florida to visit, and take a paddle board tour is it possible you might see one? Whale sharks are known to live in the Gulf of Mexico and have been spotted by fisherman and divers alike. While you are a paddle boarding it is unlikely that you will see one, but keep your eyes open. Unfortunately a whale shark recently washed up dead on the beach here in Southwest Florida. With the unusual strong outbreak of red tide many fish have become sick and have died. Since whale sharks are filter feeders, they are extra susceptible to ingesting the toxins contained in the red tide.

If you are heading to Florida, please check the weather and the conditions. We are currently unable to take visitors out onto the water until it becomes safe again because of the red tide. Feel free to give us a call or complete this form to ask question or book a paddle board tour with us.