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Updated by Koox Diving on Jul 12, 2018
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10 Things You Should Know About Swimming With Whale Sharks In Mexico

In recent years whale sharks have been sighted in Mexico’s warm and tropical waters – returning yearly to the Yucatan Peninsula to feed and mate. On occasion more than 400 whale sharks have been spotted in one gathering. Whale shark tourism is booming – and snorkelling with these gentle giants is truly amazing. Here’s a guide to 10 things you should know about swimming with whale sharks in Mexico before you take the plunge…

1

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world

How long is a whale shark? This frequently asked question is answered by saying that a whale shark can grow up to 12 metres long. They can also weigh up to 20 tons and can live to be 100 years old.

2

Whale sharks have massive mouths

Whale sharks have massive mouths

Reaching up to 1.5 metres the mouths of whale sharks contain 300 to 350 rows of tiny teeth which are used to filter food. Approximately 3000 teeth aren’t used to bite as the whale sharks are filter feeders.

3

Whale shark diets

Whale shark diets

Krill, plankton, and small fish that get scooped up into the giant mouths are the staple diet of the whale shark. The throat opening is about the size of a golf ball so only small micro-organisms are eaten by the ton.

4

Whale sharks aren’t dangerous

Whale sharks aren’t dangerous

Despite huge mouths and thousands of teeth whale sharks are extremely gentle creatures. They swim at an average speed of three mph – and are accustomed to swimming alongside people.

5

Whale sharks are solitary souls

Whale sharks are solitary souls

The only time you’ll see whale sharks in large numbers is when they meet to feed on bountiful krill and mate. They spend most of their lives travelling alone migrating to where the food is to be found in plenty. Where do whale sharks live? In tropical waters and warmer areas such as the Mexican coast – with most of their lives occurring in the open seas.

6

Female whale sharks produce eggs

Female whale sharks produce eggs

The eggs of the female whale sharks hatch inside the mother – unlike most other fish. The female will give birth to about 300 baby sharks – at around the age of 30 when they become sexually mature.

7

Whale sharks are sensitive to scents

Whale sharks are sensitive to scents

The chemicals from shampoo, deodorant, perfume, and sunscreen can make the eyes of the whale shark sting. Use reef friendly bio-degradable sunscreen or wear full length wetsuits before you get into the water.

8

Safety rules for swimming with whale sharks

Safety rules for swimming with whale sharks

There are a few regulations you need to follow to stay safe: you must get into the water quietly, never touch the whale shark, and stay two metres away from the head and four meters away from the tail. Flash photography is strictly forbidden.

9

Whale sharks are at high risk of extinction

Whale sharks are at high risk of extinction

Whale sharks aren’t classed as an endangered species but the International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified them as being a vulnerable species. The main reasons for their decline are the international demand for shark products and degradation of their environment due to over-fishing and oil spills

10

Whale Shark Festivals

Swimming with whale sharks is an experience you’ll never forget – taking part in the annual Whale Shark Festival will give you the opportunity to swim with the majestic whale sharks and help to raise awareness of the need to preserve the area’s marine ecosystem.

11

Swim with Whale Sharks in Mexico

The Koox Diving team will take you on a real adventure – diving with whale sharks from June through to September. You’ll see whale sharks feeding naturally without overstaying your welcome – and you’ll be given all the useful information you need to know about the swim before you enter the water. Get ready to be excited and delighted by this breath-taking experience.