Whale Sharks are dark grey with a white belly. Their skin is marked with pale grey or white spots and stripes which are unique to each individual.
Whale sharks have five large pairs of gills, a blunt snout, and very large mouths located at the front of the head, rather than on the underside of the head like many other sharks.
Short barbels protrude from the nostrils, common in many carpet shark species.
The eyes are small, located just behind the mouth at the front corners of the head.
There are three prominent ridges along the sides, starting above and behind the head, and ending at the caudal peduncle (the narrow part of a fish's body to which the tail fin is attached).
Researchers have found whale sharks spend most of their time in deep water, occasionally rising to the surface to scoop up clouds of plankton, small fish and squid and whatever else happens to be their way.
Whale sharks have also been observed travelling great distances to satisfy their enormous appetites.
Females give birth to live young around 40 to 60 cm long, however humans have never observed this process in the wild. In 1996 a captured female was found to be pregnant with 300 pups.
The birthing locations, and areas where the young spend their first few months of life remain unknown, possibly occurring in the deeper depths of the oceans.
Reaching sexual maturity at around 30 years, whale sharks are estimated to have a lifespan of between 70 and 100 years.
These gentle giants are curious around divers, but scared off by boats, excessive noise and people trying to get too close to them.
Over the years, we have seen more whale sharks around the Koh Haa Yai islands than at any other dive site.