These Sharks Don’t Bite

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There has been a lot of great white shark news of late, including an attack on a beachgoer in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but now sightings of basking sharks off the coast of France are making headlines.

The basking shark is the second largest fish in the world and can grow to over 35 feet in length, but despite its size, it does not pose a threat to humans. It doesn’t have teeth and only feeds on plankton. Like the whale shark (the largest fish in the sea), the basking shark is also a harmless filter-feeder.

Basking sharks get their common name from the fact that they like to bask in warm waters. But when they’re not near the surface in the summer months, these creatures can disappear into the depths for several months at a time. For that reason, sightings are relatively rare, and people tend to get excited when one is spotted. Now, a few basking sharks have been observed off the coast of France, and because so little is known about the behavior of this species, these big fish are causing a stir. You can read more about these sharks here.