Whale Sharks | SHARK ACADEMY
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Whale Sharks | SHARK ACADEMY

It’s the size of a whale but it’s actually
the world’s largest fish! I’m Jonathan Bird and this is shark academy! Well as shark experts of course you all know
that sharks are fish. The whale shark is not only the world’s largest shark…it’s the
world’s largest fish, and it’s called a whale shark because it’s the size of a whale. It’s
not a whale. It’s not related to whales. Whales breath air. They are mammals. Sharks are fish.
So the whale shark is a fish the size of a whale. The whale shark is really big! We’re talking:
they reach fifty feet long. That’s the length of two school buses end to end. So this is
a very very large fish. How does it get so big? Well, it eats a lot. But you might be
surprised what it eats. Whale sharks survive almost exclusively on plankton and small fish.
A whale shark feeds by swimming through the water with its mouth wide open, scooping in
vast quantities of water. The water goes into the back of the throat and it goes back out
through the gills. But on the gills are little combs called gill rakers and they’re filters.
What happens is the plankton gets stuck in the filters when the water goes through and
then every once in a while the shark closes his mouth and swallows all the plankton down.
So the whale shark is completely harmless to people, even if a person went into its
mouth, it wouldn’t be able to swallow you because it only has a throat about this big.
The throat is designed for swallowing small things, little fish, plankton, not people.
Completely harmless to people. The only way a whale shark could hurt you
is if someone dropped one on you, or maybe if it hit you with its tail. But I don’t know
anybody stupid enough to get hit with the tail of a whale shark. One of the most interesting characteristics
of the whale shark is its skin pattern. It has sort of a polka-dotted stripey pattern
that almost looks like dominoes. In fact in some countries they’re called the Domino shark.
Nobody’s quite sure what this coloration pattern is for, the best guess is that it helps with
that dappling of light near the surface, it almost helps create a sort of camouflage on
their back. But why would they need camouflage, are they sneaking up on the plankton? Nobody
really knows. So since the whale shark is so humongous,
you would expect that it would have a pretty large babies. Actually it doesn’t. The pups
are born only about a foot long. Because they’re so small the female can give birth to over
three hundred pups at a time. A female whale shark can’t produce babies until she’s thirty
years old, so it takes a long time for all those pups to grow up. So even though the
whale shark has a lot of pups, they’re still vulnerable to over-fishing. If you want to learn more about whale sharks,
check out the link below, my adventure filming whale sharks in Mexico! If you’re on Facebook
or Twitter check out the links right here, become a fan, we’d love to hear from you.
And if you want to tell us something about sharks or make a request, leave a comment
down below. Of course if you haven’t subscribed yet, dude what are you doing? Hit the subscribe
button! Until next time, I’m Jonathan Bird and this is Shark Academy!

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “Whale Sharks | SHARK ACADEMY

  1. If only all sharks were like whale sharks and ate plankton… Different adaptations for different reasons, I guess.

    It's kind of crazy how whale sharks can have so many pups when whales only have about 1 at a time. I guess there are advantages and disadvantages to egg-laying versus placental births.

  2. You Got hit by a WHALE TAIL learn more about a WHALE TAIL when you got hit by a WHALE TAIL and you got a bump by a WHALE TAIL


  3. 1:56–2:08 made me laugh so hard. Great stuff. Informative and fun – that's how videos should always be.

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  6. 2:35
    So…I have a hypothesis…
    Pups are about a foot long, right? In other words, they're pretty vulnerable to predation by…just about every marine predator there is. So, I'm thinking the countershading and dappling helps the pups stay "hidden" from said predators as they grow. They just don't "outgrow" it, and it stays with them into adulthood.

    Love your show, love Shark Academy in particular. I know these are old episodes, but I love revisting them every now and then. C: Thank you so much Mr. Bird!

  7. My class is dissecting dogfish sharks Monday and we watch shark academy and we watch it so often everyone in the class knows the intro "this is Jonathin Bird and welcome to shark academy"

  8. A question from my 5 year old: How long does it take for whale sharks to grow from one foot to fifty feet?  How does it's body grow?

  9. Whenever I see whale sharks with their mouths open I always think they look so stupid – cute stupid. Like there are no fish silly. I didn't realise they eat plankton too!

  10. if a whale shark big as 2 school bus it will be 90 feet not as much bigger than the megalodon tho because school bus is big as 45 feet

  11. When the dinosaurs were living, the whale shark was living too. And the megalodon fed on whales. So, the whale shark needed to use camofluage to protect itself from megalodons. And it still hasn’t evolved from that yet.

  12. Leopardy spots.. camo from flying, whale shark eating creatures of dinosaur times. lol total guess.
    lol yep I really did laugh out loud from the tail hitting. Too funny!

  13. Thanks to you l learned a lot of interesting things about sharks and oceans.it is amazing to dive deep and be near a huge fish. You are lucky. Thanks.👍👍👍👍

  14. I had the chance to swim with these giants here in the Philippines. They are so nice and gentle. Amazing and beautiful creatures.

  15. They have camouflage because when they are babies they could get eaten that’s why their born blue that’s my guess

  16. There's animals like hamsters that when they eat go: nomnomnomnom
    Then there's the whale shark: NOOOOOOOM-okay Imma gulp now-NOOOOOOOOOOM

  17. I’m confused, some books say it’s 39 ft some others say it’s 50 ft few even say it’s 70 ft so what is the real length of a whale shark 🦈

  18. "Why would they need camouflage are they sneaking up on the plankton?" To be honest i was asking the same question

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