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WILDLIFE

The whale sharks of Qatar

Qatar is constant to the largest aggregations of hundreds of whale sharks in the country's northeast coast every year, creating a fascinating sight to behold. 

Qatar is home to one of the largest whale sharks aggregations in the entire world. With its appearance and the confusing name, it often is puzzling whether these endangered gentle giants are a breed of whales or sharks. Although whale sharks share a lot of similarities with whales, it belongs to the shark family. Let's dive into  a few fascinating facts:

  • Scientifically identified as Rhincodon Typus, the whale sharks can grow up to 65 feet in length, parallel to the stretch of a large city bus. 
  • While the fish matures like a whale and expels water through its gills, it also exhibits a few characteristics of sharks, such as their skeleton system being made of cartilages (not bones), 
  • The female species grow larger than the male species. 
  • Whale sharks are known for their distinctly dotted patterns and camouflaging appearances, making the migratory phenomenon a must-witness marine activity when in Qatar. 
The Whale Sharks of Qatar

Regardless of the riveting moniker, whale sharks impose no threat to humans, whether spectators or divers. They meander in warm and shallow sea waters of the Northern coasts of Qatar, located about 145 kilometres afar the shores of the capital city, Doha. Whale sharks appear in schools of over 100-150 fishes at a time. 

Whale shark eating habits

  • Whale sharks are filter feeders
  • They have about 3000 tiny teeth
  • They don't use teeth to eat
  • They feed on fish eggs and tiny plankton

Animal facts

  • Lifespan

    60 to 100 years

  • Length

    Up to 59 feet

  • Diet

    Carnivore

  • Speed

    5 kmph

The journey out to the waters also offers sighting bottlenose and spinner dolphins that are playful and fun. 

Gallery

  • The Whale Sharks of Qatar
  • The Whale Sharks of Qatar

What wildlife enthusiasts say?

We loved spotting whale sharks. It was indeed a rich sea experience that Qatar offers its visitors. 

The Whale Sharks of Qatar
Morey Animal lover