One of the largest ocean dwellers is found in the Atlantic Ocean around the Cape Verde islands. The whale shark is the largest species of fish in the world and is harmless. It also has many records in size. The whale shark is a slow-moving fish species that mainly lives on plankton. They are elusive deep sea swimmers about which little is known. They are an impressive appearance and they are on the list of endangered species.
Appearance of the whale shark
The whale shark can be between 8 and 15 meters long and weighs around 20 tons. The shark has a broad and flat head, with the mouth at the front of the head. The top of its skin is dark gray with large white / yellow dots and stripes that run both horizontally and vertically. Each animal has its unique pattern and can therefore be recognized by it.
Whale sharks are no fast swimmers. They swim no faster than about 5 kilometers per hour, with the entire body moving. They mainly stay about 6 meters below sea level, but also make very deep dives.
Shark or whale?
The name of the whale shark is confusing. Is a whale shark a whale or shark? A whale shark is a shark species and not a whale. It is therefore a fish and not a mammal.
Is the whale shark dangerous?
The whale shark is harmless to humans. Whale sharks mainly eat plankton, some small fish and squid. Due to the size of the body, it can be relatively dangerous if you get close to its giant tail. You may be hit. Because of its size, the whale shark itself has few natural enemies. As with most animal species, humans and the environment are probably the greatest threat.
Whale sharks have a very large mouth that can be as long as 1.5 meters. The shark feeds itself by swimming with its mouth open and after closing the mouth again to filter the water. They can suck up to 6,000 liters of water per hour. Can a whale shark – with these powers – also suck you up? No, their body is not made to eat. Moreover, humans are too large.
When can I spot whale sharks in Cape Verde?
From the months of July to November, it is the best opportunity to spot a whale shark in the waters around Cape Verde. Nobody really knows how many whale sharks there are, but it is well known that their number is limited and is declining rapidly. Although there are various observations of whale sharks in Cape Verde, you must be somewhat to see them.