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Tara Reid has proven that just starring in a movie called "Sharknado" does not make her an expert on sea life.
The 37-year-old actress made that clear when she went on Discovery's Shark Week talk show "Shark After Dark" last night. She told the host, "Today I was like, all right, I don't want to, like, really sound stupid when I do this show today, like... so I learned a little education on sharks."
She added, "So I look up 'sharks' on the Internet and I see 'whale sharks,' so I'm like, that must mean that a whale and a shark have sex. And then I think, 'Well, how do a whale and a shark have sex?'"
To the sounds of a snickering audience, she was asked, "Was there a video of it?" Reid said, "No, there is a thing called whale sharks, and then I realized whales are mammals and sharks are animals, so they have nothing to do with each other."
She continued, "So basically the dolphins have sex with each other, but the sharks don't, so I thought, 'How is it such a thing?' But the difference is, there is a whale shark, which is the biggest shark in the ocean — he's also scary — and then you have the great white, who's also scary. There are over 400 kinds of sharks, but the whale shark is kind of interesting because he's not so mean."
If you're confused, so were her co-hosts.
As one pointed out, there's also a tiger shark — and that is not a literal meeting of tiger and shark. And neither is the whale shark.
For the record, the whale shark is named for its huge size — it's the largest fish in the sea, at 40 feet long, about the size of a yellow school bus.
Its enormous, wide mouth filled with teeth is not a killing machine — Reid was right that it's "not so mean." Instead, whale sharks open their mouth wide to gulp up tiny animals, known as plankton, and plants. That's also the food that, you guessed it, some whales eat.
These gentle giants are found in warm tropical waters. The docile fish migrate every spring to the continental shelf of the central west coast of Australia.
As for mating, while not much is known on the subject, it's not as exciting as Reid imagined, nor is any kind of interspecies activity involved. One female whale shark caught in Taiwan was observed "giving birth to live young that [hatched] from eggs within the uterus."
Shark Week continues tonight with "Top 10 Sharkdown" at 9 PM on Discovery.