Can I Go Diving With Whale Sharks?

Can I Go Diving With Whale Sharks

Whale sharks despite being a kind of shark, their massive size, and their docile nature have earned them the nickname “gentle giants”, so it is only natural to think of them as cute. They are actually very fascinating creatures, and swimming with them is absolutely safe due to their completely different diet from what you might assume. They consume some of the smallest organisms and spit out everything else that is unknown. These adorable gigantic creatures are incredibly humble swimming buddies but, only swim alongside them, diving with whale sharks is prohibited, not because they’re dangerous, but because we might be a threat to them and we’ll explain why.

Firstly, is it Dangerous to Swim With Whale Sharks?

The whale shark is referred to by scientists as a filter feeder, which indicates that they typically eat krill and plankton, two of the tiniest marine organisms. They take a massive gulp of water and then filter it with their gills, allowing all the minute plankton, krill, jellyfish, and fish to pass down their tiny throats and be digested. They only consume little fish and will throw up anything that is foreign to them.

They gulp their food rather than chewing it when they eat, and even scientists are unaware of what their small, inactive teeth, which are about the size of a pill, are for. Although many people worry that these creatures have mouths big enough to swallow people, you’ll be relieved to learn that they actually try to avoid us because we smell bad to them, which actually leads us to our main topic.

Can I Dive With The Whale Shark?

As mentioned, these animals, despite their size might make them seem like, whale sharks are very sensitive animals and will try to avoid us because of all our lotions and creams that make them swim away, which is why most snorkeling tours will ask you not to shower before swimming with the whale shark or use any kind of deodorant with scent. But why is this so important, well, if they turn away from you, they’ll be changing their natural feeding route, something that will not only affect the whale sharks diet but of the animals close to it, because they might get scared of it and also change rout. Basically, we could accidentally modify the ecosystem.

Whale sharks also have extremely fragile and sensitive stomachs. While whale sharks typically ignore snorkelers, scuba divers have occasionally seen them turn away. One theory is that this is because the divers’ air bubbles feel uncomfortable against the whale sharks’ bellies because they associate bubbles with dolphins who have been seen molesting whale sharks from below, perhaps as a game or to drive the whale sharks out of their territory. In addition to not diving with them, there are other restrictions in place to protect the whale sharks and manta rays that migrate through these waters. For example, you are not permitted to scuba dive in the area designated as the feeding area for whale sharks because doing so could cause them to divert from their normal course, which would affect their diet and that of the other animals.

Basically, you’re totally safe to swim with them but cannot and should not go diving with the whale shark, actually, speaking of swimming, we have a great Cancun whale shark snorkeling tour, where you’ll be able to swim with tons of these friendly giants and other sea animals like dolphins and turtles!

If you found this article helpful, follow us on our Instagram, and check out all of our whale shark swimming tours.

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