In a video published by the Smithsonian channel, a diver stumbles across a whale shark trapped in a commercial fishing line in a marine sanctuary that bans fishing and frees him by cutting the rope. The giant fish lies still while the rope is cut. The footage also shows the scale of a whale shark vs a human.
The whale shark (scientific name: (Rhincodon typus) is the largest living fist in the world. The biggest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 meters (41.50 feet) and an estimated weight of about 21.5 metric tons (47,000 lb), and unconfirmed reports of considerably larger whale sharks exist.
Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose any danger to humans. They will often interact docilely with divers to the extent of allowing the divers to grab onto a fin and hitch a ride.
However, there have been a few cases of them butting sportfishing boats, possibly after being provoked.
Related: Amazing whale shark facts
Usually, they are more at risk of being struck accidentally by vessels whilst basking or feeding on the surface.
They feed on plankton and small fishes. They often swim near the surface of the open sea, gulping in water and filtering everything from plankton and fish eggs to occasional larger prey like squid or tuna.
This giant fish can grow as large as some species of whales. It is also a filter feeder like baleen whales (for example, the blue whale, or the humpback whale) – hence the name.
It is one of only three known filter-feeding shark species (along with the basking shark and the megamouth shark).
- Whale shark on Wikipedia
- Rhincodon typus on the Florida Museum website
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