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Basking Shark

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Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) off the Isle of Coll, Scotland
Head of a Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)
Basking Shark with mouth open
Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus)
The basking shark is the second largest species of shark (and fish) in the world behind the enormous whale shark. Basking sharks are also commonly known as the sunfish, the elephant shark and the big mouth shark

The basking shark is found inhabiting temperate coastal waters around the world, with the exception of the Indian Ocean. The basking shark is one of only three plankton-feeding shark species and is the largest fish in British waters.

Basking sharks are most well known for their enormous mouths which balloon out in order to take in as much water into it as possible, and are able to process over 1,500 gallons at a time. As filter-feeders, the basking shark's mouth contains hundreds of tiny teeth which are used to filter food particles out of the water.

Basking sharks are generally solitary animals found hunting alone, although basking sharks are also commonly seen in schools of up to 100 basking shark individuals usually during seasonal migrations. Basking sharks are also known to spend most of their time closer to the surface of the water where they can be easily spotted as they munch their way through the ocean.

As with other large fish and shark species, the basking shark is a carnivorous animal meaning that it only gets it's nutrients by eating other animals. Plankton is the primary source of food for the basking shark along with other small organisms such as fish, squid and crustaceans.

As the second largest shark species in the world, the basking shark has few natural predators. Apart from hunting by humans, the great white shark and the killer whale are the only real threat to the basking shark, mainly due to the fact that basking sharks are slow and generally sluggish swimmers.

Basking sharks reach sexual maturity (can begin breeding) when they are about three years old. Basking sharks are known to mate during the warmer summer months, and their pups (the largest of all shark pups) are born live after up to 3 years of development. Basking shark pups are known to become independent immediately, swimming away from their mother just after birth.

Due to over hunting and rising levels of pollution, the world's basking shark populations have severely declined meaning that today, the basking shark is considered to be an animal that is under threat from extinction.

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Basking Shark Translations

Catalan Català
Tauró pelegrí
Czech Cesky
Žralok veliký
Danish Dansk
German Deutsch
English English
Basking shark
Spanish Español
Cetorhinus maximus
Finnish Suomi
French Français
Requin pèlerin
Hebrew עִבְרִית
כריש ענק
Hungarian Magyar
Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia
Hiu penjemur
Italian Italiano
Cetorhinus maximus
Japanese 日本語
Dutch Nederlands
Norwegian Norsk
Polish Polski
Portuguese Português
Swedish Svenska
Turkish Türkçe
Dev köpek balığı
Chinese 中文

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Basking Shark Facts

Five groups that classify all living things...
A group of animals within the animal kingdom...
A group of animals within a pylum...
A group of animals within a class...
A group of animals within an order...
A group of animals within a family...
Common Name:
Most widely used name for the species...
Basking Shark
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species...
Cetorhinus Maximus
The area where the animal first came from...
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
What kind of foods the animal eats...
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is...
6m - 12m (20ft - 39ft)
Water Type:
Either freshwater, brakish or salt...
Optimum pH Level:
The perfect acidity conditions for the animal...
5 - 7
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for...
20 - 100 years
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct...
The colour of the animal's coat or markings...
Grey, Black, Brown
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal...
Favourite Food:Fish
The specific area where the animal lives...
Temperate waters along continental shelves
Average Clutch Size:
The average number of eggs laif at once...
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from...
Fish, Plankton, Invertebrates
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal...
Sharks, Humans, Killer Whales
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to the animal...
Enormous mouth and large body size

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