Wildlife encounter: Fishermen spot whale shark off Lee County

Posted at 10:09 AM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 08:52:33-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A fishing boat out of Lee County had a wildlife encounter with a gentle giant this week.

Charlie Ciulla shared video of a giant whale shark he came across while cruising about 50 miles off Sanibel Island on Tuesday.

They estimate the fish was at least 30 feet long.

Whale sharks can reach over 40 feet in size, and are the largest known fish in the ocean.  Despite their size, they are very gentle and pose little threat to humans.  They are filter feeders, and their diet consists of plankton and small fish.

The endangered fish can be found in open warm waters around the globe.