Basking shark Facts

Basking shark Facts
Basking shark is the second largest species of shark in the world. It can be found in the cold and temperate waters all over the world. Basking shark occasionally resides in the warm, tropical waters, in the bays and coastal areas. Number of basking sharks in the ocean is reduced for nearly 80% in the past 60 years due to uncontrolled hunting because of their liver (source of oil) and body parts that are used in traditional Asian medicine and human diet (especially fins). Basking shark is classified as vulnerable.
Interesting Basking shark Facts:
Basking shark can reach 20 to 26 feet in length and 5.2 tons of weight.
Basking shark has grayish-brown body covered with placoid scales.
Basking shark has small eyes, pointed, conically-shaped snout and wide jaws (up to 3 feet in width) filled with several rows of miniature, backward curved teeth. It has 5 big gill slits on the back of the head, large dorsal and pectoral fins and crescent-shaped tail. Basking shark looks like huge great white shark with unusually shaped head.
Basking shark has extremely big liver (1/4 of the body weight) filled with oil which ensures buoyancy and serves as a source of energy when food is scarce.
Basking shark swims slowly and spends most of the time close to the surface of the water. This shark is named "basking shark" because it looks like it is basking in the sun while it swims and collects food.
Basking shark is filter-feeder whose diet is based on miniature copepods (zooplankton). It swims with open mouth and feeds passively. Well-developed gill rakers separate food particles from the rest of the water, which is eliminated via gill slits.
Basking shark spends winter on a depth of 3000 feet.
Basking shark migrates seasonally to reproduce and find better sources of food.
Basking shark occasionally jumps out of the water. Researchers believe that goal of this behavior is removal of parasites from the surface of the body.
Basking shark is social animal that lives and travels in group of few to nearly 100 animals.
Natural enemies of basking sharks are tiger sharks, lampreys, killer whales and humans.
Despite its huge size, basking shark is not aggressive and it is completely harmless for humans.
Mating season of basking shark takes place during the summer.
Females give birth once every 2 to 4 years. Unlike in other species of shark, only right ovary produces eggs. Gestation period lasts 2 to 3 years, much longer than in other species of sharks. Baby sharks eat unfertilized eggs while they are in the mother's body. Pregnancy ends with 6 babies. Newly born sharks start their life in warm, shallow waters.
Exact lifespan of basking shark is unknown, but scientists believe that this shark can survive around 50 years in the wild.

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