Basking Sharks

Photo by David Mark of Pixabay

Basking Sharks are so named because they’re often seen feeding at the surface of the water where they look like they’re basking in the sun!  They are enormous and often spotted in UK waters during summer months.
APPEARANCE:
Apart from their large size, Basking Sharks have:

  • a very large mouth – this can be well over 1m wide!
  • 5 huge gills which almost encircle the head
  • and a powerful crescent-shaped tail

COLOUR:
They tend to be greyish-brown with a lighter underbelly. Often they have irregular patches, patterns and streaks on their flanks and fins. Using photo-ID we can use these distinct markings to identify individual Basking Sharks.

SIZE:
The largest reported Basking Shark was 12m long. But most don’t get bigger than 9.8m.

WEIGHT:
The average Basking Shark weighs 4.5 tonnes. Yet, they can weigh up to 7 tonnes!

DIET:
Basking Sharks eat zooplankton. This includes small copepods, barnacles, decapod larvae, fish eggs and shrimp.  They’re one of 3 filter-feeding sharks but are the only species that feeds entirely passively. They swim through the water with their mouth wide open, rather than actively sucking water in. Only closing their mouths to swallow their food. Long comb-like structures on their gills (known as gill-rakers) trap and filter zooplankton. These can strain up to 2000 tonnes of water per hour!

REPRODUCTION:
It’s thought that Basking Sharks live for at least 50 years. Males reach maturity at 12–16 years. And females at 20 years (around 4.6-6.1m in length).
Females produce eggs, which develop and hatch inside their body. They then give birth to fully developed young, which are around 1–1.7m long. This makes Basking Shark pups larger at birth than many species of shark are fully grown!

There’s little data on Basking Shark reproduction. But pregnancy is thought to last around 14 months. There’s only ever been one reported catch of a pregnant female (1943), who was carrying 6 pups. This suggests that Basking Sharks give birth in areas of low, or no fishing pressure.

BEHAVIOUR:
Basking Sharks are quite social. They can be seen on their own, in small groups, or, schools of hundreds. There are many reports of same size and sex groups. Suggesting a strong sexual and age segregation within the species.

Despite their size, Basking Sharks are capable of leaping clear out of the water. A behaviour known as breaching. They seem to breach most when in large groups and during courtship, so this may act as a social or sexual function. It could also help to dislodge external parasites.
Info from sharktrust.org/about-basking-sharks

Basking Sharks are long lived, slow growing and produce few young. This makes them extremely vulnerable to human impacts.  Although Basking Sharks are now one of the most heavily protected sharks in UK and EU waters, they continue to face threats from human activities:

ENTANGLEMENT
Basking Sharks easily become entangled in fishing nets and ropes. Unless fishermen are on hand to quickly release them, they often die. Although some do manage to disentangle themselves. You can sometimes see scarring and abrasions caused by nets on their dorsal fin.

BOAT-STRIKE
Propeller and boat strikes remain a serious danger for Basking Sharks. Particularly in summer months when they’re feeding at the surface. Basking Sharks rarely evade approaching boats. So it’s common for them to have scarring and sometimes horrific injuries from collisions.

HARASSMENT
Basking Sharks are very sensitive to disturbance and harassment by people. In all the excitement of seeing Basking Sharks, boats and jet-ski’s often end up striking them. As well as causing physical harm, water-users can also disrupt their natural behaviour. Such as feeding, courting and mating.

FISHERIES
Basking Shark fisheries worldwide have all but collapsed. Although in some parts of the world they continue, driven by demand for shark fins. Basking Sharks are also still caught as bycatch in nets intended for other species.

Info from sharktrust.org/basking-shark-threats

To learn how you can help basking sharks go to sharktrust.org/how-can-you-help-basking-sharks

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Freedom

Story continues from yesterday:

Yay Venus! She saved the day again!

If you want to know what she did next, go to episode 4

If you want to know what she did before this, go to the Venus Aqueous page 😀

Have a great day, see you tomorrow ❤

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Art Attack

Story continues from yesterday

Phew! Thank goodness for that.  Find out tomorrow whether Venus can save the basking shark😀

or read the whole story now 😉

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Butt-faced miscreants!

Story continues from yesterday 🙂

Oh no! Find out tomorrow how Venus and her dad cope with these idiots 😀 (or read the whole story now 😉 )

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That was then, this is now

Story continues from yesterday.

To enlarge images for easier reading, use the zoom in your browser 🙂

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That’s it for Venus Aqueous #5

Have a great weekend 😀

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Epilogue, Part II: Consequences

Story continues from yesterday.

To enlarge images for easier reading, use the zoom in your browser 🙂

Continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, click Venus #5 now 😀

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Epilogue, Part 1

Story continues from yesterday.

To enlarge images for easier reading, use the zoom in your browser 🙂

Continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, click Venus #5 now 😀

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The Great Escape

Story continues from yesterday.

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, click Venus #5 now 😀

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Let’s do this!

Story continues from Friday.

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, click Venus #5 now 😀

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At a quarter to three, it began.

Story continues from yesterday.

To enlarge images for easier reading, use the zoom in your browser 🙂

The story concludes next week but if you don’t want to wait, click Venus #5 now 😀

Have a great weekend!

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The Next Two Days

Story continues from yesterday.

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, click Venus #5 now 😀

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Later that afternoon …

Story continues from yesterday.

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, click Venus #5 now 😀

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Snooping

Story continues from yesterday.

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, click Venus #5 now 😀

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Conservation? Really?

Story continues from Friday.

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Story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait, click Venus #5 now 😀

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Now there’s a thought!

Story continues from yesterday.

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Story continues Monday but if you don’t want to wait, click Venus #5 now 😀

Have a great weekend! 😀

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Quoting Kelly’s Heroes

Story continues from yesterday.

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Story continues tomorrow but if you want to read the whole story now, click Venus #5  😀

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Welcome to Ocean World

Story continues from yesterday.

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Story continues tomorrow but if you want to read the whole story now, click Venus #5  😀

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Venus #5! Again.

Venus Aqueous episode 5 has been given the Comic Life treatment 😀

Instalments begin here.

To enlarge images for easier reading, use the zoom in your browser 🙂

Story continues tomorrow but if you want to read the whole story now, click Venus #5  😀

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One Year Later

For the story so far click here 🙂

click to enlarge

The End 🙂

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Read all about it!

For the story so far click here 🙂

click to enlarge

concludes tomorrow 🙂

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To whom it may concern

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click to enlarge

to be continued …

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To Protect and Serve

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click to enlarge

to be continued …

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Slippery

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And 47 seconds later ….

to be continued …

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The chase

For the story so far click here 🙂

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So, while the rest of the wild animals hastened their escape, Venus climbed on top of the wreck.

to be continued …

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All too soon

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And all too soon ….

to be continued …

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Hot Pursuit

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to be continued ….

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Upstairs and downstairs

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Upstairs:

And downstairs:

to be continued …

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Time’s up

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Meanwhile,

to be continued ….

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Any minute now

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children's adventure story

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to be continued ….

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Waiting for firemen

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children's adventure story

to be continued ….

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Keep it together!

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VEGAN COMIC FOR CHILDREN

to be continued ….

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11 minutes to go

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children's adventure story

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vegan children's story

to be continued …

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2.55pm

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children's adventure story

children's adventure story

children's adventure story

to be continued ….

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And so it begins

For the story so far click here 🙂

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When Sunday came, they were ready:

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CHILDREN'S ADVENTURE STORY

And after six and a half minutes of searching …

VEGAN CHILDREN'S STORY

children's adventure story

children's adventure story

to be continued …

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And the Emboldening

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VEGAN CHILDREN'S STORY

to be continued …………

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The Shopping

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vegan children's story

to be continued ….

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The Positioning

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VEGAN COMIC FOR CHILDREN

to be continued ….

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The Timing

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So for the next two days and nights they worked tirelessly on every aspect of their plan,

vegan children's story

to be continued ….

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What Jean found out:

For the story so far click here 🙂

children's adventure story

vegan children's story

…… to be continued

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What Adi found out:

For the story so far click here 🙂

children's adventure story

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children's adventure story

…… to be continued

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What Joe found out:

For the story so far, click here 🙂

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vegan children's story

to be continued ….

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So, here’s what we’ve learned:

For the story so far, click here 🙂

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Regardless, Venus met the rest of the gang at 3pm as planned:

children's adventure story

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to be continued ….

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Back on terra firma

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As Venus climbed out of the tank her first thought was to share what she’d found with Adi and Jean and tell them her plan.  Her subsequent thoughts were not so pleasant.

children's adventure story

Ten minutes later:

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to be continued ……

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There it is!

For the story so far, click here 🙂

***

Finally, behind the model shipwreck, concealed from onlookers, she found it.

children's adventure story

vegan comic for children

to be continued ………..

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Venus

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vegan children's story

to be continued ……..

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Jean

For the story so far, click here 🙂

aquarium heist

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She named everyone she met and, as per Venus’s plan, noted the names and locations of everyone from this part of the world.

VEGAN COMIC FOR CHILDREN

to be continued ……..

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Adi

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fish purchase invoice

click to enlarge

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click to enlarge

67

to be continued … 🙂

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Dirty Secrets

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children's adventure story

aquarium heist

to be continued … 😀

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87 minutes later …

For the story so far, click here 🙂

So, 87 minutes later …

57 VEGAN COMIC FOR CHILDREN

children's adventure story

to be continued ….

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