WATCH: Colossal 30-Foot Shark Swimming Near Shore Spotted by Drone

by Caitlin Berard

The average size of fully-grown sharks varies greatly depending on the animal’s exact species. That said, most are intermediate in size and around the same length as humans at 5-7 feet.

Despite their familiar size, however, a shark encounter is typically considered an uncomfortable experience, to say the least. But spotting one larger than the average two-story home? That’s enough to make anyone think twice about their next beach trip.

This might sound unbelievable, but there are a few species of these iconic predators that are truly gargantuan. Basking sharks, for instance, can reach up to 40 feet in length. These mammoths of the sea are second only to the whale shark, which can grow up to 50 feet long.

Photography enthusiast Charlie Lovelace spotted one of these impossibly large sea creatures swimming near the coast of Moray, Scotland, while walking his dog earlier this week. And luckily for all of us, he caught the encounter on camera, flying his drone over the water to get a closer look at the elephantine fish.

“As I was coming into the area of a park, I just saw about 10 people looking at the water,” the photographer recalled to The Press and Journal. “So I thought it was maybe the seals they were looking at, or dolphins.”

“But then when I parked the car, I could just see this massive fin, dorsal fin sticking out the water,” he continued. “So I just quickly got my drone up in the air and flew over and then I noticed it was a basking shark. It was quite impressive.”

How Dangerous Are Basking Sharks?

Though the shark caught on drone footage wasn’t officially measured, Charlie Lovelace estimated it was around 30 feet long.

In addition to his experience with drone photography, Lovelace is also a skilled fisherman and marine officer. According to Lovelace, he’s seen “every sea animal possible” but the basking shark spotting was a particularly magical experience.

So, this 30-foot colossus was spotted just off the coast. Does this mean that we should all avoid the ocean in case of a basking shark attack? Not at all!

Despite their fearsome size and gaping jaws, the basking shark is actually completely harmless to humans. Though they are carnivorous, basking sharks aren’t aggressive, nor do they feed on typical shark fare.

Virtually all shark attacks are caused by cases of mistaken identity, and it’s unlikely a human would be mistaken for microscopic plankton.

Not to mention, basking sharks are filter feeders. This means, unlike its more vicious relatives, the basking shark does not chomp down on its prey with razor-sharp teeth. Instead, they use bristle-like gill rakers to snack on zooplankton (tiny fish) and invertebrates in the water.

So while swimming next to a 30-foot anything can be unsettling, a human swimmer is perfectly safe in the presence of a basking shark.