How Big Are Whale Sharks?

The whale shark is the largest fish in the sea.

The largest whale shark on record was caught in 1947 off the coast of Pakistan and measured 12.65m or 41ft 6in long.  This is about the length of a school or transit bus.  Many people, including fisherman, sailors, and divers, claim to have seen whale sharks as long as 18 m or 60 feet.  In comparison to its mammal counterparts,  Rhincodon typus can reach the size of some of the larger whales, which is why in many languages the common name has the word “whale” to describe this enormous shark.

The smallest speciman recorded was discovered in 2009, by marine scientists in the Philippines.  The 38 cm, or 15 inch, shark was found tied to a stake in the sea seemingly as a pet to the fisherman who caught it.  He was convinced to release the shark into the wild to brave the fisherman infested waters once again.  Although there has never been a witness to a live birth, it is believed this is about the size of a whale shark at birth.

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