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Whale Sharks

A fifty foot shark sounds pretty terrifying, but unless you are plankton, this shark is harmless as a clam.

aquarium visitors observe a massive whale shark and other fish

Photo: Zac Wolf

The whale shark can grow to be 50 feet long, with a mouth five feet wide!

Have you ever wondered what species of shark is the absolute largest?

Most people would probably guess the great white, which averages about 12 to 16 feet long.

However, the great white is not the largest living species of shark. Not by a long shot! The largest shark on record is know as the “rhincodon typus,” or the “whale shark.”

The whale shark is a true member of the shark family. They can be found in temperate waters of the Atlantic, the Pacific, and even the Indian Oceans. They far exceed even the record setting lengths of great whites. The whale shark can grow to be 50 feet long, with a mouth five feet wide!

Although they are sharks, whale sharks only eat plankton, or tiny microscopic organisms that they scoop up with their huge mouths. Unless you are plankton, the biggest shark in the world is completely harmless.

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