Basking Sharks For Kids
Attention Teachers and Kids_Download a list of things that you and your students can do about basking sharks here.
Here are some links to Marine Conservation Society Activities to do with the sea.
Find Real Sea Monsters off Isle of Man Beaches!
If basking sharks didn't exist, story tellers would have to invent them! We are so lucky on the Isle of Man where these wonderful creatures visit us every year. Basking sharks are the second biggest fish in the world. Baby basking sharks are as long as a motorbike. Fully grown basking sharks are longer than a bus! Put your mouse over the picture to find out who took the photograph
Ask your mum or dad to take you on a real adventure.
Look for basking sharks off the Isle of Man! Look at these pictures
to see what you could see!
A real sea monster! LOOK at the size of that mouth. You could stand up inside the mouth of a big basking shark, not that you would want to! This basking shark is eating millions of tiny shrimp called plankton. It does not eat fish, jellyfish (or people)!
These are shrimp from the plankton. Each one is smaller than a rice grain, smaller than an 'o' on this page. Basking sharks have to eat MILLIONS of them every hour.
See. one basking shark eating plankton, not interested in people!
But your imagination could run a bit wild sometimes if you are silly enough to get close!
Sometimes you only see the basking shark's dorsal fin.
You might be lucky and see the nose, the dorsal fin AND the tail fin. This makes it easy to tell how big the basking shark is.
The big white mouth can be the first thing you see under the water. This basking shark has a floppy dorsal fin.
You can look for basking sharks from the shore. These sharks are close to Peel castle.
Some people are VERY lucky. They get to SWIM with basking sharks. This has to be done with GREAT CARE as you do not want to disturb their feeding. This is a very small, young basking shark.
Phew! That is a BIG fin! Sometimes you see people kayaking near to basking sharks off Niarbyl on the Isle of Man. They do not paddle when a basking shark is near because it might disturb it.
Basking sharks have little tiny eyes,
VERY BIG mouths,
and VERY BIG noses!.
They have beautiful skin.
But they have bad wrinkles around their mouths!
Don't mention the fish lice near their gills! Quick, call for the flea shampoo!
They 'fly' through the water using their big pectoral fins like aeroplane wings to steer.
They can look toothless and quite, quite, harmless ,
Their babies have cute little piggy noses-----------------but-------
Don't forget, they ARE sea monsters so keep looking and enjoy yourselves!
Really Revolting Basking Shark Facts
We hope that you will enjoy these revolting facts.
1: Basking sharks have long thin fish called lampreys stuck to their skin around their bottoms!
2: Basking sharks find their dinner by smelling and tasting the different fishy smells in the water. The huge basking shark eats millions and millions of tiny shrimp called plankton. Imagine being a basking shark and having shrimp soup for every meal of your life! This great cartoon is by Derek Pitman, why don't YOU draw a cartoon of a basking shark?
3: How would you like to have 10 big bristly brushes in your mouth! Basking shark gill slits have big brushes called gill rakers in them. These look just like a grandma's sweeping brush, only pink. They use these, covered in snotty mucous, to trap their food.
4: Basking sharks trap their shrimpy plankton dinner in GALLONS of slimy, snot-like mucous that they swallow with their food: GROSS!
5: Have YOU ever eaten too much? A big basking shark stomach is about the same size as a bath full of half-digested smelly pink shrimps.
6: If you were silly enough to touch a basking shark you would find that it is covered in slime a bit like the black oil on your bicycle chain! It smells fishy too!
7: When basking sharks rub against one another they leave a fishy smelling oily slick in the water!
8: Basking shark skin is very rough and scratchy because it is covered in MILLIONS of scales like tiny shark teeth! In the old days they used to make it into leather for non-slip boot soles. Those boots must have smelled very bad!
9: Basking sharks have fish lice around their gills! Fishy fleas but no flea shampoo or school nurse to stop their itches! They have to hope that birds or fish will pick the shrimpy fish lice off their skin.
Basking Shark Facts For Kids
If you are lucky enough to see a basking shark please report it to us at THE MANX BASKING SHARK WATCH. If you write a really good short story about the day you saw a basking shark we would like to put it on our website.
1: Basking sharks are the second biggest fish IN THE WORLD! The biggest is the tropical whale shark.
The biggest basking shark ever was 13.72m long. This is longer than a bus!
Cartoon by Derek Pitman
2: An average size basking shark is 8.7m long. This is the same length as a small removals van. 3:It weighs 7 tonnes, the same as 2 elephants!
4: A newborn basking shark is 1.5-2 m long, that's bigger than a grown-up seal!
5: Basking sharks are born in litters of about 6 pups. A pregnant female must have a very big bump before she has her babies!
6: Basking shark brains are very small for such big animals. The main part of the basking shark brain is about the same size and shape as a hotdog in a bun! The most important bit of a basking sharks brain is two long thin stalks that look a bit like two dandelions on stalks. These bits work out the smell and taste of what is in their mouth.
7: Basking shark have very big dorsal fins on their backs. They are up to 2 m high, that is taller than your dad!
8: Basking sharks eat shrimps for dinner every meal of their lives. they have to filter LOTS of water to get enough to eat. An average-size basking shark could filter enough seawater to fill a swimming pool in just one hour!
9: Basking sharks visit the Isle of Man in the summer, between mid May and mid-August when the water is full of plankton.