This lucky photographer had the close up experience of a lifetime with whale sharks in this incredible clip. Researchers took a guided tour to the waters off Isla Mujeres in Mexico to meet these gentle giants close up. Whale sharks are the largest sharks in the world, and even the largest fish. They are next ibn size only to a few whale species. They are not mammals, as they breath through oxygen exchange in their gills, as fish do. These magnificent animals come to these waters to feed on krill, plankton, tiny fish and fish eggs. They are filter feeders and they do not possess teeth. Although they reach a size of 50 feet and can weigh an estimated 100,000 lbs, they are harmless to humans. These whale sharks were so relaxed with the humans who quietly floated and swam near them that the sharks passed by almost close enough to touch them. The laws here prohibit touching the sharks, as tempting as it would be. Even annoying or harassing them is illegal and comes with harsh consequences. More importantly, ethical tours simply will not allow behaviour that would disturb these beautiful creatures. Whale sharks are magnificent to see from a distance, but to be as close to one as this lucky researcher is a breath taking and unforgettable experience!
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