Unbeknownst to most, every summer the second largest fish in the world cruises Scotland’s waters in huge numbers.
The basking shark can grow up to 33 feet long, their giant mouths gaping as they cruise through the open oceans. Menacing as they may seem however, their entire diet consists of plankton; tiny creatures that sustain a huge proportion of the ocean population. Hard as it is to believe, the giant basking shark is nourished entirely by these small organisms!
At the end of last year an unnaturally large group of them descended on the west coast of Scotland, and was even reported on by the BBC.
The majority of the more than 700 sightings occurred off the isles of Mull, Tiree and Coll, with an estimated 45% increase in the total number of sharks coming to Scotland last year from the year before.
Basking Shark Scotland, based in Mull, released this incredible video following the episode, showing both the animals and the islands in all their glory.
However despite weighing seven tonnes, humans are far more of a danger to them than they are to us! With a lack of teeth and a relatively slow swimming speed, they are constantly in danger of injury. Jet skis, boats and even fishing nets are ever-present dangers.
Thankfully, legislation is in place to help protect these animals, and a number of animal protection groups are acutely aware of the risks they face.