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Basking Shark


The Basking Shark is also known as bone shark,
elephant shark & the big mouth shark.

Basking Shark




    Scientific Name....Cetorhinus Maximus
    Family Name
  • General Information: The Basking shark is the second largest fish in the world. It grows to be about 33 feet in length, and is a bulky filter-feeder. Basking sharks are streamlined and stout with a strong crescent-shaped tail fin and lateral keels. The short snout is narrow and conical.


  • Size: Females can measure up to 33 feet in length, and males measure up to 30 feet. These huge sharks can weigh approximately 4 tons.


  • Teeth: The have hundreds of very small teeth varying from triangular at the centre of the jaw to conical lateral and are of little use. These seemingly useless teeth of basking sharks may play a role in courtship behaviour, possibly as a means for the male to keep hold of the female during mating.


  • Color: Greyish-brown, black, and sometimes bluish with an off-white underbelly.


  • Feeding Habits: Basking Sharks sieve small creatures out of the water. As it swims with it's mouth open, gallons and gallons of water enter its mouth, carrying with it prey, which includes plankton, fish eggs and baby fish. After it closes its mouth, it uses gill rakers to filter the nourishment from the water. The gill rakers are made up of thousands of bristles are about 4 inches long. The water is expelled through the gills.


  • Senses: They have well developed sight, and smell, and can detect electric currents given off by their prey. They also have the senses of taste touch and hearing.


  • Social Behaviour: Basking sharks can congregate in pairs, groups of up to 100 individuals, or travel by themselves.


  • Habitat | Migration | Distribution: Basking sharks live in temperate coastal waters and spend most of their time at the surface. They are found off the coasts of western North America from Baja to southern Alaska, off the east coast of the US and southern Canada, along the Gulf Stream, to the entire coastline of Europe, off the southern coast of Australia, off South Africa, New Zealand, most of southern South America, the Red Sea, and the coastlines of China and Japan. They migrate seasonally moving north to feed in summer, and south in the cooler months.


  • Life Span: Their life span is approximately 50 years.


  • Reproduction: Very little is known about their reproduction, but females reach maturity at about 13-16 feet long, and are thought to bear live young. Mating is thought to occur in early summer and birthing in the following late summer.


  • Swimming: A Basking shark travels at no more than 3 mph. it moves it's whole body side to side to swim, as opposed to most other species of sharks, who only use their tails.


  • Basking Shark Attacks: Possibly dangerous if attacked.


  • Population Report: Although their numbers aren't known, they may be decreasing as this shark is hunted for it's meat, fins and oil.

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