Bull Shark: Habitat And Characteristics

One of the peculiarities of the bull shark is that it is one of 43 species of sharks that can live in both fresh and salt water.
Bull shark: habitat and characteristics

The bull shark is one of the best known species of sharks. Come learn a little more about it in this article, including its habitat and its main characteristics.

Its name varies greatly depending on where it is found. It is also known as the Zambezi shark or the flat-head shark. The scientific community calls it Carcharhinus leucas.

This animal has a robust figure and a broad, flat muzzle. In addition, it is one of 43 species of sharks that can live in both salt and fresh water.

Along with the great white shark and the tiger shark, the bull shark completes the trio of sharks most likely to attack humans. Although shark attacks are quite rare, this species is known as the pit bull of the sea for its aggressive behavior.

Bull shark eating habits

Bull shark in its habitat

The bull shark’s diet is mainly composed of bony fish and small sharks. In the western Atlantic area they commonly feed on red mullet, pirapema, catfish, sea bass, horse mackerel and doll.

They also consume rays and young sharks, including small sharks of their own species, when they venture into shallow parts used as breeding grounds.

It is common for them to eat sea turtles, dolphins, crabs and even certain sea birds. They are considered lazy sharks. However, they are capable of giving fast bursts of around 19 km/h to capture small, agile prey.

What is the bull shark’s natural habitat?

These animals are migrant hunters, located in different geographic areas, including oceans, rivers and even freshwater lakes. They usually tend to stay in warm, moderately deep water, ranging between 30 and 150 meters deep.

It is, as we saw earlier, one of the few species that move easily into freshwater and can spend long periods of time in it.   However, they breed in salt water, in marine habitats.

This ease of moving from salt water to fresh water occurs even when they are very young and use shallow areas as breeding grounds. Furthermore, they are also able to tolerate hypersaline water.

Geographic distribution

This species of shark is found primarily in tropical and subtropical coastal waters around the world. Furthermore, it is also found in river systems and some freshwater lakes. Some of these animals have been seen in the Amazon River, Peru, and the Mississippi River, Illinois (USA).

Bull sharks migrate north along the coast of the United States, usually during the summer. They swim to Massachusetts and then return to tropical climes when coastal waters cool.

These large specimens prefer the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, while their favorite rivers are Brisbane, Amazon, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Potomac and Mississippi. They are always in rivers, especially if they have an outlet to the sea. It is relevant to note that there have been no known attacks on humans in these rivers.

Bull shark distribution

General characteristics of this animal

The bull shark has only 50% salt concentration in its blood, so it can switch to salt water very easily. Interestingly, it produces 20 times more urine when swimming in fresh water.

In addition, they reach maturity between 15 and 20 years and their known life expectancy is 25 years. The size of an adult specimen can vary between 2.1 and 3.5 meters in length. The adult male weighs about 95kg while females weigh approximately 130kg.

Generally, females are larger and longer and, in most cases, they live for about 17 years. Males, on the other hand, live an average of 13 years.

The first dorsal fin is large and triangular, it originates slightly behind the pectoral insertion and there is no intercostal ridge. Also, its muzzle is much shorter than the width of the mouth, and quite rounded.

His eyes are very small, which means that vision is not very important to him. After all, it is an animal that tends to move through muddy waters or with low visibility. 

It has shades ranging from dark gray to pale gray, which drops to an off-white hue at the bottom. In addition, its jaws can reach up to 245 centimeters, and its teeth are wide, triangular and irregular.

Other interesting facts about the bull shark

The bull shark is not a sought after species by fishing companies, and is considered the most dangerous shark in the world.

This shark’s large size, ability to adapt to fresh water and its proximity to human settlements make it a potential threat.

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