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Bull shark

Posted on: March 8, 2010

Above the bull shark

1. This shark is common worldwide in warm  shallow waters along coasts and in rivers.

2. The bull shark is well-known for its unpredictable and often aggressive behavior. Since bull sharks often dwell in shallow waters they may be more dangerous to humans than any other species of shark. and along with tiger sharks and great white sharks are among the three shark species most likely to attack humans.

3. Unlike most sharks the bull sharks tolerate fresh water and can travel far up rivers. As a result they are probably responsible for the majority of near-shore shark attacks including many attacks attributed to other species. However bull sharks are not true freshwater sharks.

4. The bull shark lives all over the world in many different areas and travels long distances. It is common in coastal areas of warm oceans and in rivers and lakes and occasionally salt and freshwater streams if they are deep enough. It is found to a depth of 150 meters (490 ft) but does not usually swim deeper than 30 meters (98 ft). In the Atlantic it is found from Massachusetts to southern Brazil and from Morocco to Angola. In the Indian Ocean it is found from South Africa to Kenya, India, and Vietnam to Australia. There are more than 500 bull sharks in the Brisbane River and greater numbers still in the canals of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. In the Pacific Ocean and it can be found from Baja California to Ecuador. It also lives in fresh water Lake Nicaragua and in the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers of West Bengal and Assam in eastern India and adjoining Bangladesh. It can live in water with a high salt content as in St. Lucia Estuary in South Africa.

5. Bull sharks are large and stout. Males can reach 2.1 m (6 ft 11) and weigh 91 kg (200 lb). Females can be much larger up to 4 m (13 ft) and 318 kg (700 lb). Bull sharks are wider than other requiem sharks of comparable length and are Grey on top and white below. The second dorsal fin is smaller than the first.

6. Bull sharks eat fish and other sharks, dolphins, rays, turtles, seabirds, molluscs, echinoderms, crustaceans, and virtually any other animal. Bull sharks have been known to use the ‘bump-and-bite’ to attack their prey. Relatively calm bull sharks can suddenly become violent and begin to bump divers.

7. Bull sharks are typically solitary hunters but occasionally hunt in pairs. They often cruise through shallow waters. They can suddenly accelerate and can be highly aggressive even attacking a racehorse in the Brisbane River in the Australian state of Queensland. They are extremely territorial and attack animals that enter their territory. One or more bull sharks may have been responsible for the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 which was the inspiration for Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws. Most of these attacks were previously thought to be great whites. In India bull sharks swim up the Ganges River and have attacked people. It also eats human corpses that the local population float on the river. Many of these attacks have been wrongly blamed on the Ganges shark and a fairly rare species that is probably the only other shark that can live comfortably in both saltwater and freshwater. The Grey nurse shark was also blamed during the sixties and seventies.

8. Bull sharks mate during late summer and early autumn often in the brackish water of river mouths. After gestating for 12 months a bull shark may give birth to 4-10 live young. They are viviparous. The young are about 70 cm (28 in) at birth and take 10 years to reach maturity.

9. Bull sharks are apex predators and rarely have to fear being attacked by other animals. Humans are their biggest threat. Larger sharks such as the tiger shark and great white shark may attack them. Saltwater crocodiles have been well-documented as regularly preying on bull sharks in the rivers and estuaries of Northern Australia. It is likely that other large crocodilians such as the Nile crocodile and the American crocodile (both of whom share virtually all of their range with the bull shark) exhibit similar predatory behavior.

All of this info is from


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