Meet the Whale Shark
In Baja California, there are several places where to see and swim with this friendly fish. Diving and snorkeling with whale sharks is a magnificent experience, suitable for everyone, children and adults, that you will not forget.
In Baja California, there are several places to dive with the whale sharks depending on the migratory season, one of them is La Paz, near the Isla Espíritu Santo.
How big does a whale shark get?
Whale sharks can exceed 10 meters in length and weigh several tons. In fact, it is the largest fish in existence. At birth, they are about a meter long – if you think about it, that’s a lot! If you come across a 2-3 meter whale shark, you are actually encountering a baby.
The appearance is typical of a normal shark, but the body is wider and its back in flatter, the head is beveled, and the mouth is very wide. The average size is usually 10 meters long and usually weighs 9 tons. Accredited sources estimate that there may be specimens of 20 meters in length and 34 tons in weight. The largest that has been officially recorded was caught in Pakistan, near Baba Island, and was 12.65 meters long and weighed 21.5 tons.
What do whale sharks eat?
Despite its incredible body mass and scary appearance, it is practically harmless to humans as it feeds almost exclusively on plankton, filtering small crustaceans and fish, microscopic algae, or sometimes some squid through its gills.
Other characteristics of the biggest fish in the world:
Their skin is one of the thickest in the animal kingdom as it can be up to 14 centimeters thick.
The two dorsal fins are not very large and are on the back half of the body. The caudal fin is almost symmetrically bilobed, the pelvic fins are below, while the pectoral fins are quite wide and are placed below the last two gill slits.
The skin has small checkerboard-shaped bumps highlighted by white dots on a blue-green background that is used as a “fingerprint” for specimen recognition. The belly is whitish. The tail has similar lobes, although the upper one is slightly longer.
Swim with the whale shark
Although you can find them during diving, perhaps the best way to swim with whale sharks is by snorkeling or floating next to them. In fact, these large animals are mainly found on the surface, so fins and snorkel goggles are enough to spend unforgettable moments with these harmless animals.
Baja California Travel can organize a boat trip to spot the whale sharks and dive with them in different places on the peninsula depending on the time of year when it is most possible to see and get close to them.
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