Basking Shark

Name: Basking Shark

Scientific name: Cetorhinus maximus

Category: Marine

Nature Stars: 90

What are nature stars?


A very large, black shark, growing up to 12 metres long. Basking Sharks may look like Jaws, but they actually feed on plankton which they filter out of the water, swimming slowly back and forth with their enormous mouths wide open. They are most commonly seen in the summer, when they seem to gather in British waters. Try looking from cliffs or boats offshore in the south and west.


Go to the basking shark's Feature Creature page to read more fantastic facts!

Want to make your own bottle basking shark? We've got an activity sheet to show you how! Click on the image to download the sheet and give it a go. Don't forget to send us pictures when you've tried it. We'd love to see! 

How to identify: The large black triangular dorsal fin moves slowly through the water, with the tail tip sometimes also visible above the waves.

Where: Found all round our coasts, but most frequent around the south west of England, Wales and west coast of Scotland.

Natural Superpowers

  • Predator: 20
  • Agility: 20
  • Rarity: 80
  • Cute factor: 10
  • Traveller: 80

Fantastic fact: The Basking Shark is the second largest fish in the world: only the Whale Shark grows bigger.

Photograph credit: Andrew Pearson

More in this category: Lesser Spotted Dogfish » « Grey Seal