A huge basking shark has been spending some time cruising the waters near the Isle of Man – and while the massive-mouthed giant looks like it could swallow you whole, there's no reason to fear this weird creature.


Filmed by Craig Whalley and posted to Facebook by Isle of Man Harbours, the clip gives us an amazing close-up look at one of the biggest fish in the sea. Among its kin, only the whale shark grows bigger. This particular specimen is around seven metres (23ft) in length, and while the size is certainly noteworthy, female members of the species can reach a whopping ten meters (33 feet)!

Despite those impressive proportions, the basking shark is a gentle giant, and spends its days lumbering along near the surface with its mouth open to scoop up food like a big underwater shovel. On the menu? Mostly plankton, small fish and the occasional mouthful of fish eggs. 

"This was my first basking shark of the year," says Whaley, who has had many encounters like this one. 

Though the sharks are known for their leisurely swimming style, they have been known to breach, propelling their entire bodies out of the water. Our best guess is that the behaviour helps the sharks rid themselves of parasites, but whatever the reason, it's quite the sight to behold!


Top header image: Patrick Rasenberg, Flickr