Are Whale Sharks Dangerous?

There are lots of different species of shark that exist, but the largest is the whale shark in the world. Not only is it the largest type of shark, but it is also the largest type of fish that lives in the ocean. 

When creatures are big, it is very easy to also assume that they are dangerous. However, a simple online search will reveal that whale sharks are actually considered to be one of the most non-aggressive sharks on the planet. 

Are Whale Sharks Dangerous

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at whether whale sharks are aggressive, or not, and also if they are dangerous. So, if you want to find out more about this incredible species of shark, keep on reading! 

What Are Whale Sharks?

First things first, let’s take a look at what whale sharks are. As we have already established, the whale shark is the largest species of shark that exists on the planet.

Adult whale sharks often weigh up to 19,000 kg, and the largest confirmed measurement of a whale shark is 18.8 m. 

All in all, whale sharks are quite a record-holder in the animal kingdom, with lots of size-related records to their name.

By far, the biggest achievement being that whale sharks are the largest non-mammalian vertebrate on the planet. With the sheer size of the whale shark, it really isn’t surprising that people often mistake these beasts as whales. 

Whale sharks are perhaps most famous for their gigantic mouths. Their mouths are this big because they are a filter-feeding species of carpet shark that move very slowly and eat as they move.

They don’t hunt, instead they simply feed on small fish as they travel. They are constantly on the move, and are known to travel for huge distances. But are they dangerous? Let’s take a look.

Are Whale Sharks Dangerous?

The size of the whale shark alone is enough to suggest that these creatures are dangerous. But sometimes you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, because in reality, whale sharks aren’t at all dangerous.

Yes, they are large and yes, they have large mouths that are usually open. But whale sharks are not dangerous, and they are not a threat. Especially not to humans. 

Whale sharks do not hunt for prey, instead they are filter feeders who feast as they travel. Even though these sharks are enormous, they do not consume large prey. Instead, they simply feed on small fish, primarily plankton, while they travel through the ocean’s waters. 

Instead of consuming small amounts of large prey, whale sharks consume huge amounts of small prey, and this is why they are constantly on the move.

Whale sharks travel all the time to find large amounts of plankton to sustain their diet, and along the way they reproduce. If you visit the tropical oceans, then there is a good chance that you will encounter a whale shark. 

Do Whale Sharks Ever Attack Humans?

As we have established, whale sharks are not aggressive. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that whale sharks do not attack humans.

There are no recorded whale shark attacks on humans, and as far as historic records go, there is no suggestion that a whale shark has ever attacked, or eaten a human. 

Are Whale Sharks Dangerous (1)

Whale sharks might be huge, but they do not have aggressive tendencies, and they are not hunters. So they will never mistake a human for a seal, in the way that great white sharks can.

Whale sharks operate in their own space, and it is very rare for humans to ever get close enough to be anywhere near their mouths. It is likely that this plays a part in the reason why whale sharks have never attacked humans. 

Is It Safe To Swim With Whale Sharks?

If you have always wanted to swim with sharks, but have never felt safe doing so before, then whale sharks might be the perfect option for you.

Whale sharks have zero interest in human beings, and they are absolutely harmless. This is why they are one of the most popular species of shark to swim with. 

Swimming with whale sharks is a totally unique experience because you can literally swim alongside them in the ocean.

Whale sharks have zero interest in humans, so you can get close to them without worrying about any danger. 

There are lots of different places around the world where you can go swimming with whale sharks. From Mexico and the Maldives to Ecuador and Indonesia, these sharks live in tropical waters all over the world.

In most areas where these sharks reside, there will be companies that offer the opportunity to swim with whale sharks. 

Why Can’t You Scuba Dive With Whale Sharks?

If you have researched swimming with whale sharks, then you might have been surprised to discover that you cannot scuba dive with this species.

Scuba diving with sharks is very common for a number of different species of shark, but not for whale sharks. So why is this? 

You cannot scuba dive with whale sharks because whale sharks do not reside deep enough into the water to justify scuba diving.

Whale sharks actively swim just beneath the water’s surface in order to feed. So, if you swim deep enough to scuba dive, you will not encounter these sharks. 

In order to swim with whale sharks, you do not need scuba diving equipment, you simply need a pair of fins and snorkeling gear. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and definitely not one to miss if you are visiting a tropical area. 


In short, no, whale sharks are not dangerous. Whale sharks are one of the most non-aggressive species of shark in the world, and they do not pose a threat to humans.

So, if you want to go swimming with sharks, it is definitely worth considering swimming with whale sharks. 

Thank you for reading! 

Mikayla Adams

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