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Last Updated: Monday November 17 2008 08:00 GMT

Shark's loo stop caught on camera

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Whale caught on camera having a poo

It's as thick as your arm, smells revolting and now it's been caught on camera for what's thought to be the first time ever. What is it? Shark poo!

Biologists were so excited about spotting the whale shark going to the loo, they even scooped the poop out of the water so they could keep it!

But it's not as grim as it sounds - by testing the poo they can find out loads more about the giant creatures.

Despite being the world's biggest fish, very little's known about whale sharks.

They can grow up to 12 metres long and are related to great whites, but they're far less scary.

To eat, they swim about with their huge mouths open so they can scoop up whatever tasty treats are floating in their path.

Exciting poo

Now biologist Dr Mark Meekan says the shark's poo sample has helped them learn much more about their feeding habits.

"One way to work out what is going in one end is to look at what is coming out of the other," he said.

"It does seem rather weird, someone being so excited about seeing whale shark poo.

"But it is pretty rare - they are usually doing their business down in much deeper water."