Er . . . . . . . Is That A Shark Behind You?
While this picture may appear to be something out of a horror movie, it is an actual picture taken off the coast of Durban, South Africa. However, do not worry, this story has a happy ending!
Sam Bester and her friend Fiona Ayerst were out diving and admiring the beautiful marine life in the warm Indian Ocean waters, when Fiona, who was slightly behind Sam, noticed this Whale Shark following her friend.
She quickly took this picture, but before she could warn her buddy, the menacing looking creature took off, totally ignoring Sam, who had no clue what was going on behind her.
They later found out that the creature was a Whale Shark, who feeds largely on plankton. And the reason its mouth was wide open is because they are filter feeders - they suck in large amounts of water, which then sieves through their unique gills that lets the water out and retains the food. While they have teeth, they play no role in their eating.
Whale sharks, are the largest living fish, which grow up to 65 ft in length and have a lifespan of about 70 years. While they are called 'Whale', they have the skeleton of a shark and are therefore considered fish, not mammals.
Despite their daunting looks, these creatures are gentle giants and pose no danger to humans, except of course if one gets smacked by the large tail - Lucky for Sam, she was in front of the massive creature.
sources: dailymail.co.uk, wikipedia.com