Basking Shark

Cetorhinus maximus

What do they look like?

The basking shark has a huge grey body and swims with its cavernous mouth wide open. It has a thick triangular dorsal fin two-thirds of the way down its back. Its tail fin is almost crescent-shaped. Five long gill slits run from the back of the head to below the throat. The largest shark in Scottish waters, the Basking Shark can grow up to 11 metres - longer than a bus!

Where can I see them in Scotland?

Found in all Scotland’s seas between May and September but most frequently sited on the west coast. Can migrate long distances in the winter including to the Azores and Newfoundland.

Fun Fact

The basking shark is the second largest fish in the world, second only to the whale shark. Basking Sharks can detect the levels of plankton in the water and travel hundreds of miles to feed in areas that have high levels of plankton.

50 years
Average Lifespan

Want to find out more?

Explore our Dive in Pack on Elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) or visit The Shark Trust's website.

(C) All images Frogfish Photography