The whale shark, although it is the largest living fish, is not a man-eater, and couldn’t be even if it so desired. Its teeth are very small, only about an eighth of an inch in length, and its throat is only some four inches in diameter.
People who have the idea that it was the whale shark that swallowed Jonah must thus revise their opinion. This colossal fish actually feeds upon some of the smallest creatures of the ocean, including sardines and small squids. Very little is known of Its habits, since, as of 1938, only eighty to eighty-five specimens had been recorded, and many of these were relatively small.
Competent authorities have estimated that the whale shark may attain a length of sixty to seventy feet, but the largest specimen ever actually measured was only forty-five feet. This fish was caught near the Seychelles Islands off the West African coast about 1870. Another fish of approximately thirty-eight feet was reported to weigh 26,594 pounds.