Requin baleine à Nosy Be

Whale Shark Excursions in Nosy Be with Rand Whales & #039; water

The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, its size being up to 15 meters for 34 tonnes! However, most of the specimens encountered rarely exceed 12 meters. The whale sharks that we can see in Nosy Be are between 4 and 10m long, they are mainly juveniles.

They come to the tropical waters of Nosy Be to feed, on the surface, in the middle of shoals of bonito. Placid, calm and curious, these giants of the sea can easily be observed by swimmers and boats while respecting a specific code of conduct.

When can we see whale sharks in Nosy Be?
Whale sharks come to feed in Nosy Be between September and December, with a high season between October and November.
What do they feed on?

Despite their impressive size, it only feeds microscopic organisms called zooplankton: tropical krill, tuna eggs, fry, crab larvae, etc.

Whale sharks are completely harmless to humans since they are part of the filtering sharks (like the basking shark). It opens its mouth wide and a system of filters at the level of the gills allows it to capture these small prey.

He can thus filter up to 600,000 liters of water per hour, and his energy needs force him to eat up to 140kg of zooplankton per day, the equivalent of 8kg of chocolate!

Are they sharks or whales?

Whale sharks are sharks.

They take their name from whale sharks because of their gigantic size, but also because like whales, they filter water to extract tiny prey.

These are ovoviviparous fish, which means that females fertilize eggs that hatch inside the mother's womb. Thus, in 1995, a female accidentally caught off the coast of Taiwan, kept 304 small sharks (between 40 and 60 cm) waiting to be expelled!

Do whale sharks live on the surface?

At Nosy Be, we see them mainly on the surface because they go up for food, attracted by the noise generated by the schools of bonito in hunting.

However, thanks to the development of new technologies, it was possible to place a chip on a shark, revealing that it went down to 1928 meters deep! Scientists believe it descends as deep to find food on the high seas.

He can achieve such prowess thanks to his 30 cm thick skin - the thickest in the animal world!

How can we identify them?

Whale sharks are covered with dots and lines called "patterns".

Each individual has their own patterns, and it is therefore through photo identification, following a very precise protocol, that we can distinguish the different whale sharks.

So, after 5 years of study through the Madagascar Whale Shark Project, we have dentified more than 400 different individuals!