Fish ID: Whale Shark

Fish ID: Whale Shark

As the name suggests, whale sharks are sharks, not whales, therefore they are fish not mammals. Don’t let their size scare you as the biggest fishes in the ocean are one of the most docile marine species and exclusively feed on plankton and small fishes. Hence their nickname: “gentle giants”.

Measuring up to 20 metres, whale sharks can be distinguished by their head which is flattened with its mouth located at the front and by random stripes and dots on their dorsal surface. They are usually solitary creatures, although very friendly, as you will be able to snorkel alongside these beautiful giants.

If you are lucky enough to see a whale shark, remember to respect these amazing creatures and although we know it’s a lot to ask with all the excitement and euphoria that bubbles inside you when you see one for the very first time, keep a reasonable distance from them so they can go about their daily business and don’t chase them.

If you keep calm, they may approach you. The less you are splashing with your fins and the nicer you treat them, the better your Maldives’ whale shark experience will be!