World Whale Shark Day

Friends of Moyo: Oceans
Miranda Roberts Art Whale Shark Landscape

In “Moyo’s Journey”, on the Indigo page, she explores the deep oceans along with many creatures we know. Not included in the original illustration from the book is the world’s largest fish and one of the biggest creatures on earth – the gentle whale shark. I guess I’m holding out for a standalone “Oceans Journey” follow-up with Moyo, sometime in the future.

The only predator these magnificent animals have is us humans. Yup. Again. They are considered to be some of the most vulnerable marine animals and some of the most endangered sharks. I always believe that to love something you need to know more about it, so here on World Whale Shark Day are some facts I’ve gleaned from around the web, in order for us to learn a little more about them together. (Credits below.)

Scientific Name: Rhincodon typus
Average Length: 18 – 40 foot and the females are larger than the males
Average Weight: 20.6 tons. That is equal to the combined weight of three average African elephants (not that there is ANYTHING average about an African Elephant!)
Average Width of Mouth: 5 foot and this consists of 300 rows of tiny teeth, each only 6mm long! With this huge mouth they can suck up to 600 cubic meters of water every hour. As they feed mostly from scooped up plankton, they have no need for larger teeth.
Swimming Speed is around 3 mph and they can dive up to around 3000 feet. Sadly, they prefer to live at around 150 feet which makes them susceptible to unsustainable fishing practices and damage from larger vessels.
Communication: Whale Sharks do not use sound for communication but instead respond to the vibrations created by sound.
Their migration habits are still a source of relatively new study and therefore not fully understood. We do know however that they gather in large groups in specific places and at specific times. Regular followers of “Moyo’s Journey” on social media will know that I am a HUGE fan of collective nouns – official and otherwise. I came across and interesting article on this with specific regard to whale sharks: A constellation of whale sharks.
And that leads smoothly to their skin – hard and scaly, it can be up to 4” thick. Interestingly, like many animals, their pattern is utterly unique to each animal and an obvious reason for the choice of informal collective noun.

As with so many of Friends of Moyo, we need to honor these gentle beasts more.

Mermaids – raise your glasses for Whale Shark Day.

 Society 6 Logo
Click on the logo above for Whale Shark inspired merch at my new Society6 store

(Source: https://oceanscubadive.com/facts-about-whale-sharks)

International Bat Night

Friends of Moyo
The bat hanging upside down laughs at the topsy turvey world. (Proverb)
Miranda Roberts Art International Bat NIght Friends of Moyo
Tonight is International Bat Night so let’s show them some love… and really why not?
Apart from super cool facts like they live for about forty years,
and are the only mammals naturally capable of sustained flight (yes you read that last bit correctly), there is one MAJOR reason to love and appreciate bats:
in an hour, a single bat can eat over 1000 mosquitoes – that’s the equivalent of you or me eating 25 pizzas in one night.
Bats – I salute you!
I appreciate you.
I am batty about you! (Ok so maybe that’s going a bit too far… but seriously… let’s get a colony).
.
Oh and alongside bees and butterflies, they are huge pollinators… Some seeds will not sprout unless they have passed through the digestive tracts of a bat. Additionally, bats spread millions of seeds every year from the ripe fruit they eat. Approximately 95% of the reforestation of the tropical rainforest is a result of seed dispersal from bats.
(Source: https://www.factretriever.com/bat-facts)

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently lists 24 bat species as Critically Endangered, meaning they face an imminent risk of extinction. Fifty-three others are Endangered, and 104 bat species are considered Vulnerable. Bats also are among the most under-studied of mammals. The IUCN lists 226 bat species as “Data Deficient”– there is simply too little information available to determine their conservation status. Of the 1,296 bat species that have been assessed by the IUCN almost a third are considered either threatened (vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered) or data deficient, indicating the need for more conservation attention to these species. The IUCN continually updates information on species assessments and numbers may vary slightly as new assessments are completed.
(Source: http://www.batcon.org/why-bats/bats-are/bats-are-threatened)

“International Bat Night was established to help promote the good image of bats, and to help start creating some clarity on the facts about them above and beyond the rumors and Hollywood image. While we often think of bats as nocturnal predators feasting on the blood of the innocent and harboring rabies, the truth is quite different. Yes, there are bats that feed on blood, but they mostly feed on insects and believe us, you want bats to be out there patrolling the night and helping eliminate them.”
(Source: https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/international-bat-night)