Basking Shark(Cetorhinus maximus) | Top Details, Characteristics & Amazing Facts

The Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)

Basking sharks are the second-largest living fish in the world, growing up to 40 feet long and weighing up to 3 tons. The basking shark can be found worldwide in temperate and tropical waters and spends most of its time at depths of 500 meters (1,640 feet) below the surface. This shark uses its gigantic mouth, which has 300-400 rows of small teeth, to filter food like krill and plankton from the water.

These are one of three filter-feeding sharks in existence. Their main food source is plankton and their main location is around Greenland. These sharks live for a maximum of about 30 years and can grow to be anywhere from 20 to 40 feet long. They prefer temperatures ranging from 6 to 16 degrees Celsius. Their social structure has not been well researched however it is believed that they congregate in groups during mating season which could mean that they are extremely social creatures. The Baskingshark mostly breeds once a year when they migrate to warmer waters where there will be more plankton present.

Conservation status

The basking shark is listed as Vulnerable by IUCN and is protected by Appendix II of CITES. It is classified as Endangered in both Australian and New Zealand waters due to exploitation from fisheries. In response to concerns about global population levels, seven basking shark sanctuaries have been established worldwide (see Conservation). 

Basking sharks are regularly sighted in coastal waters throughout their range including those of Canada, Norway, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal (Madeira), Greece (Crete), Azores (Portugal), Italy, and Africa. Sightings further offshore may represent strays or migrants from other populations. The number of individual basking sharks present in these areas remains unknown but all populations appear healthy at present.

Where do they live?

The basking shark lives in all of Earth’s oceans, except for polar regions. It prefers to live in temperate and tropical waters. Like many sharks, it is found near coastlines and islands but also ventures into open water. The presence of food can cause it to travel thousands of miles.

Physical Characteristics

The basking shark has a length of more than 10 meters (33 feet). Their weight can be more than 5.000 kilograms (11.000 pounds). They live mainly in oceans. They feed on plankton. They are harmless and slow swimmers, just floating with their enormous mouths open to catch as much plankton as possible. 

When they swim, it is usually a series of giant leaps from time to time interrupted by short periods of swimming slowly through the water at a leisurely pace. It is one of only three living species of filter-feeding sharks, along with whale sharks and megamouth sharks; these big fish lie motionless in shallow waters such as seagrass beds or coral reefs waiting for zooplankton prey. sharks are considered harmless; their massive size makes them unprofitable game fish.

Diet and hunting behaviour

The basking shark is a filter feeder that feeds on plankton. The broad-toothed (C. brevirostris) captures prey with a cephalic snout that protrudes from its head when it opens its mouth to suck in water. This species also has a large liver filled with oil that makes up 13% of its body weight; by comparison, an elephant only has 2% body fat. The liver can be as much as 18 feet long and weighs over 6 tons — roughly equivalent to 300 gallons of diesel fuel! It is believed to be useful for buoyancy control while swimming at depths of 4,000 feet or more.


Incredible Facts

The basking shark is known for its immense size. It can grow to be more than 30 feet long and weigh up to four tons! But what are some other things you should know about these giants of their habitat? Here are a few tidbits about these magnificent creatures:

1. The basking shark’s scientific name translates to giant whale-like or one who swims well.

2. They consume massive amounts of plankton—their jaws are wide enough to take in a giant mouthful of water containing plankton, which they filter through tiny holes in their teeth.

3. These large marine animals have been reported to make gentle contact with boats, gently bumping them or pressing themselves against them.

4. Unlike most species of sharks that need saltwater to survive, basking sharks prefer freshwater.

5. They have three-gill slits on each side of their bodies and five pectoral fins used for propulsion along with two dorsal fins (one behind another).

6. It was named as an endangered species by IUCN in 1994 after being hunted extensively during the 20th century for its oil content (it was thought to be good at treating warts!).

7. Basking sharks feed mainly on large crustaceans called copepods because it has lots of energy value.

8. Basking Sharks are slow swimmers; they move forward at less than 12 kph/7 mph by using undulations of their body and triangular fin movements while keeping their crescent-shaped tail steady and straight behind them.

Basking Shark Babies Information When do Basking Sharks Have Babies? Basking shark calves appear to stay with the mother throughout her entire life, even until she dies —but scientists aren’t quite sure how long that life span may be.

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