The largest species of shark is the whale shark, which averages about 40,000 pounds in weight and between 18 and 32 feet in length. The largest such shark ever recorded weighed approximately 47,000 pounds and measured almost 42 feet long.
Despite their large size, whale sharks are a gentle species that represent no danger to humans. Whale sharks eat plankton, krill and other small animals that they capture using their exceptionally large mouths. Other large species of sharks include basking sharks and great white sharks. The largest recorded basking shark only weighed about 8,500 pounds, despite being the second largest species in the world.