Wildlife videographers capture unusual whale shark feeding behavior

Credit: Rumble Studio
Published on July 13, 2019 - Duration: 01:34s

Wildlife videographers capture unusual whale shark feeding behavior

Whale sharks are the largest of the shark species, and the largest fish on the planet.

They can reach a length of 55 feet and weigh an estimated 100,000 pounds.

Despite their enormous size, they are also one of the gentlest creatures in the ocean.

They are not capable of harming a human, even if they wanted to.

Filter feeders, they collect food from the water by swimming with their gaping mouths wide open, allowing plankton, krill, shrimp, and fish eggs to get caught in their baleen, or large combs in their throats.

Water is pushed out through the gills, leaving the food trapped where it can be swallowed.

One of their favorite foods is tuna eggs, which collect on or near the surface of the ocean.

This whale shark is a young adult, measuring approximately 45 feet long.

It is displaying a very unusual feeding behavior known as "el bouteille" which is Spanish for "the bottle".

Bottling refers to the vertical position a whale shark can take as it inhales large quantities of water at the surface.

If they encounter a nutrient-dense area, they will conserve energy by floating or bobbing with their head at the surface instead of the usual swimming motion.

This allows them to feed with minimal effort.

For nature enthusiasts such as these wildlife videographers, seeing this behavior is very exciting.

Approaching carefully and slowly, and keeping a respectful distance, they were able to stay close to the whale shark for more than ten minutes.

Completely relaxed with their presence, it continued to suck the water at the surface with a vacuum force so powerful that a swirling vortex was visible.

When planning an excursion to see these wonderful creatures, it is important to select an ethical tour that respects the laws and regulations surrounding such an interaction.

Proper guides will ensure that guests do not alarm the animals by getting too close or by creating a commotion in the water while they are being observed.

Life jackets must be worn at all times to prevent people from diving below the surface.

Guests are also limited so that there are no more than two people from each boat in close proximity with the sharks.

This tour was run by Searious Diving, a highly respected organization from Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

The operators of this tour have been heavily involved in shark conservation and also the development of rules and guidelines that protect these amazing and majestic sharks.

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