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What is a Whale Shark?


A spotted whale shark

A spotted whale shark

Copyright Jon Hanson, Flickr

A whale shark is the world’s largest fish, a filter-feeding shark that subsists mainly on plankton. Whale sharks can measure up to 40 feet in length, although around 20 feet long is more common. They are so named because their huge size and filter feeding habits call to mind several species of whale.

Whale sharks are found in tropical and temperate waters. In Mexico, they can be found in the Sea of Cortez, near Baja California, and off Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox, both near Cancun. Thanks to their docile nature, it’s possible to swim very close to whale sharks as they are feeding, an increasingly popular tourist activity.

Read about swimming with whale sharks in Isla Holbox

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