Scientific Name: Carcharhinus leucas
Common Name: Bull Shark, Bullie, Zambezi Shark, Zambi, Nicaragua Shark, Grey Death, River shark, Fitzroy Creek whaler, van Rooyen’s shark,
freshwater whaler, estuary whaler, Swan River whaler
, and shovel-nose shark.
Distribution and Habitat: The Bull shark is one of the most commonly found sharks the world over. It is also the only known large predatory species of shark that can inhabit both salt and fresh water. Although it is most predominately found in warm coastal waters, the Bull shark has been seen entering streams, rivers, and freshwater lakes. In some areas the Bull shark has even been seen "leaping" upstream rivers very much like some salmon species in order to reach deeper freshwater. The Bull shark seems to prefer shallower water usually witnessed no deeper than around 100 feet or (30 meters). However the Bull shark has also been seen as deep as 500 feet or (152 meters) on rare occasions. Bull sharks have been found in every ocean except the Antarctic and has an extremely high tolerance for varying temperatures as well as salinity. Common places to find Bull sharks include: Coastal United States, Mexico, South America, Brazil, Morocco, Angola, African Coastal Waters, Indian Waters, Vietnam, Tropical to Subtropical Asian Waters, Australia, and New Zealand. Bull sharks found in freshwater include the Brisbane River, The Gold Coast, Scarborough Canals, Amazon River, Inquitos Peru, Lake Nicaragua, Ganges River, Brahmaputra River, Assam, Several coastal rivers in South Africa, Lake Pontchartrain, Potomac River and the Mississippi River of the United States. Bull sharks have been documented to penetrate the waters of the Mississippi River as far upstream as Alton, Illinois. Bull sharks have also been known to penetrate deep flood waters resulting from tropical storms or hurricanes. They have even been reportedly seen swimming through flooded streets in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. Bull sharks are also extremely prolific in estuarine systems of warm coastal waters. This species of shark distinctly favors warm water currents and turbid or low visibility environments.
Anatomy and Appearance: The Bull shark is a very large predatory species with a stout thick frame. Females as with most shark species are larger than males and can reach an average of 2.4 meters (7.9 feet) in length and weigh around 300 lbs. The adult male Bull shark averages around 2.25 meters (7.4 feet) and 200 lbs. Large specimens of this species are said to reach around 11 feet (3.5 meters) in length but one female specimen was said to have been slightly larger than 13 feet long. Maximum weight for Bull sharks is estimated around 700 lbs. Bull sharks have a varying grey dorsal side and a white to light grey ventral section. This coloration is mild due to the turbid environments the Bull shark tends to favor. Bull sharks are also thought to have the heaviest bite force (600 kilograms or 1,300 lbs) of all experimented large shark species.
Diet, Hunting and Feeding Behavior: Bull sharks generally hunt alone but have been witnessed cooperating in pairs. They often slowly cruise through coastal waters and when introduced to a possible prey item become extremely aggressive and agitated. Bull sharks favor murky waters to hide their presence from prey items. They also favor a bump and bite technique when presented with unfamiliar prey. Their attack strategy is one of rapid acceleration and a brutal initial contact. This shark is known to try and drag larger or more aggressive prey into deeper water to try and drown them. Bull sharks do not stop attacking once their first bite has been initiated, often they will return repeatedly to the prey item, violently shaking and tearing off large amounts of flesh until the prey is incapacitated.
The Bull sharks diet consists mainly of other fishes and sharks. However it also has been known to ingest: aquatic reptiles, birds, terrestrial mammals, aquatic mammals, crustaceans, echinoderms, and other terrestrial prey. The Bull shark due to its aggressive and opportunistic nature and shared habitat with humans is thought to be the culprit to many shark attacks the world over. Although both The Great White and Tiger shark have been ranked the number 1 and 2 most dangerous shark species, the Bull shark is now estimated to have killed more people than any other shark species. Ultimately the Bull Shark is an apex marine predator who's nature and evolutionary adaptations has remained unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years. It is a shark to be both respected and studied as one of nature's greatest predators.
Note: This image is a stock image taken from online sources, this is not Namyr copyrighted work.