Animals >>

Basking Shark

Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus)Basking Shark with mouth openHead of a Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) off the Isle of Coll, Scotland
[Jump to Article]

Basking Shark Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
Chordata
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum
Chondrichthyes
Order:
A group of animals within a class
Lamniformes
Family:
A group of animals within an order
Cetorhinidae
Genus:
A group of animals within a family
Cetorhinus
Common Name:
Most widely used name for the species
Basking Shark
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species
Cetorhinus Maximus
Origin:
The area where the animal first came from
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats
Carnivore
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
6m - 12m (20ft - 39ft)
Water Type:
Either freshwater, brakish or salt
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
Threatened
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Grey, Black, Brown
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Smooth
Favourite Food:Fish
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives
Temperate waters along continental shelves
Average Clutch Size:
The average number of eggs laif at once
6
Main Prey:Fish, Plankton, Invertebrates
Predators:
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

Basking Shark Location

Map of Basking Shark Locations

Basking Shark

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.

Basking Shark Translations

Català
Tauró pelegrí
Cesky
Žralok veliký
Dansk
Brugde
Deutsch
Riesenhai
English
Basking shark
Español
Cetorhinus maximus
Suomi
Jättiläishai
Français
Requin pèlerin
עִבְרִית
כריש ענק
Magyar
Óriáscápa
Bahasa Indonesia
Hiu penjemur
Italiano
Cetorhinus maximus
日本語
ウバザメ
Nederlands
Reuzenhaai
Norsk
Brugde
Polski
Długoszpar
Português
Tubarão-elefante
Svenska
Brugd
Türkçe
Dev köpek balığı
中文
姥鲨

Basking Shark Comments

Charlie
"I loved this article about basking sharks how long are they?"
frnyetyus
"its really good has a lot of info"
alex
"thanks this really helped me"
Arielle
"Awsome for homework"
Tony
"This is very AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "
Showing 5 of 9 comments.
Show More Comments

Post Comment

Please enter a nickname which you can use to identify your comment, but which others can not use to identify you. Please do not use your online usernames/handles which you use for social networking.

Article Tools

Add to Phobia Filter
Update your Basking Shark phobia filter.
Print Article
View printer friendly version of Basking Shark article.
Source/Reference Article
Learn how you can use or cite the Basking Shark article in your website content, school work and other projects.

First Published: 17th May 2010, Last Updated: 9th January 2017 [View Sources]

Sources:
1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 17 May 2010]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 17 May 2010]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 17 May 2010]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 17 May 2010]

Are you Safe?

Are You Safe? is an online safety campaign by A-Z-Animals.com. If something has upset you, the Are You Safe? campaign can help you to speak to someone who can help you.

Are you Safe?