Bull Shark

Bull Shark      Carcharhinus leucas

Type of Animal:
Requiem Shark

Tropical/subtropical/temperate waters, preferring warmer saltwater but highly adaptable & found in cooler waters as well as brackish & fresh water: shorelines, coastal waters (including shallow areas), coastal ocean areas, intertidal/littoral areas, reefs, harbors, bays, deep streams, estuaries, inlets, rivers, lakes, tributaries, can be found as deep as 500 ft, often give birth in brackish areas

W Atlantic from Massachusetts to S Brazil (including Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean), E Atlantic from Morocco to N Namibia, E coast of Africa from Somalia to S Africa. In Indian Ocean, E coast of Africa, W Madagascar, Persian Gulf, W India/surrounding islands. Also found on all ends of Australia except for S coast, as well as certain W pacific islands in Oceania along w/ New Guinea, Indonesia, Gulf of Thailand, Philippines, & part of CE China. In W Pacific from Baja California to Peru. Also found in Amazon, Lake Nicaragua, Ganges & Brahmaputra Rivers of India, freshwater areas in Assam & Bangladesh, Tigris River as far N as Baghdad, Mississippi River as far north as S Illinois, freshwater areas in Australia (especially in Queensland), Potomac River, Zambezi of SE Africa. Freshwater areas near gulfs throughout range.

Large & stout, gray to gray-brown to brown on top & white below, small snout, no interdorsal ridge

Fish of all kinds, rays, other sharks (including smaller members of own species), birds, turtles, marine mammals (dolphins, pinnipeds etc.), terrestrial mammals (even juvenile hippos & adult horses & cattle), crustaceans, echinoderms, mollusks, sea urchins, crocodilians, basically any live prey it can catch

Status in Wild:

Studying migration, tagging/tracking programs throughout range

Solitary or small groups of 2-6 sharks. Usually hunt alone, occasionally hunting in pairs/packs. Younger individuals/juveniles frequently seen in small schools.

Additional Info:

Male: 209 lbs
Female: 290-500 lbs
Young: 40 lbs

10-11 months

Life Span:
25 years

Body Length:
Male: 7.4-7.9 ft
Female: 7.9-11 ft
Young: 5.3 ft

Tail Length:
2 ft

Main predators of adults are tiger sharks, great whites, & large crocodilians. Young/juvenile bull sharks eaten by adult bull sharks, sandbar sharks, & crocodilians.
Bull shark population in Lake Nicaragua once thought to be own species.

Fun Fact(s):
The sharks involved in famous New Jersey attacks of 1916 most likely bull sharks.
Possibly most dangerous shark in world due to fierce temperament, tenacious bite, & preference for shallow areas. Consumption of humans almost never occurs.
The Carbrook Golf club near Brisbane known for shark population, believed to be derived from baby sharks that were swept there from nearby Logan River flooding in 1990s & were trapped there after Logan receded. There’s even monthly tournament known as “Shark Lake Challenge.”
Bite force of 1,350 pounds per square inch (psi).

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