Bull Shark - Characteristics, Diet and Reproduction

Bulldog shark: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) or Zambezi shark, is...

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The bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) or Zambezi shark, is a species of cartilaginous fish, also known in English-speaking regions as the bull shark. However, it is actually not directly related to the Taurus Carcharias species, which is actually the bull shark. The bull shark belongs to the order Carcharhiniformes, the main one among sharks, and is mainly found in almost all tropical waters on the planet. It is a species that has been heavily exploited by the global fishing industry, which has affected its global population.

There are significant records of some fatal accidents resulting from this shark attacking people, which is why it is considered dangerous to humans. The bulldog shark has a unique feature in the world of selacimorphs, do you want to know what it is? Well, we invite you to continue reading this file from PlanèteAnimal to discover everything about the bulldog shark!


  • Africa
  • America
  • Asia
  • Oceania
  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • United States
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • Guinea
  • India
  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Mexico
  • Mozambique
  • Nicaragua
  • New Caledonia
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Republic of South Africa
  • Senegal
  • Tanzania
  • Venezuela

Characteristics of the Bull Shark

In general, it's a big shark, and the females get bigger than the males. Thus, females, when they reach maturity, are between 1.80 and 2.5 meters long, while males are 1.5 to just over 2.2 m. In terms of weight, the former exceed 100 kg and the latter reach around 95 kg on average. The largest specimen ever recorded measured 4 meters for 316.5 kg.

The bull shark's body color can be light gray or dark gray and turns white in the ventral region. When hatched, it is brownish in color and the tips of the fins are totally dark, but it becomes lighter as it grows.The skin is covered with placoid scales (dermal denticles), typical of elasmobranch fish, which give a rough feeling to the touch, but provide protection and allow the animal to swim much better.

The snout of this shark is short, the dental structures differ according to the jaw, its upper teeth are wide, triangular and saw-shaped, while the lower teeth have a wide base, but are thinner. Generally, the anterior teeth are symmetrical and straight, but those in the posterior rows tend to be oblique. If you are interested in this curious fact, do not miss this other article where we explain how many teeth a shark has.

The Bull Shark's most important characteristic is its ability to not only enter fresh water bodies, but to stay there for long periods of time. This is possible thanks to the saline retention and the regulation that it manages to do through specialized glands, its kidneys and its liver.

Bull Shark Habitat

The Bull Shark is a species that enjoys a worldwide distribution in tropical and warm temperate waters, with a seasonal presence in cold temperate zones. In general, it is found at depths less than 30 meters, but it can reach 150 m in continental shelf waters. Its main location area is neritic and coastal waters.

This shark frequently visits estuaries and goes up rivers very easily, some examples of rivers where it has been identified are: Amazon, Gambia, Ganges, Mississippi, San Juan, Tigris , the Zambezi and Lake Nicaragua. In addition, and contrary to its presence in the aforementioned habitats, it can also tolerate hyper saline waters.

Bull Shark Habits

This animal is usually active during the day, entering the freshwater currents in which it usually travels.At night, if you decide, return to the sea. It is the species of shark that manages to stay in fresh water the longest due to the adaptations mentioned above. It therefore generally spends a lot of time in large rivers or lakes which it accesses through estuaries. This behavior frequently makes it close to overcrowded areas, making accidents more likely, because, remember, the Sardinian shark is dangerous for humans.

In some areas it moves north in summer, while in winter it returns further south. In general, it is an aggressive shark, like the rest of the species that make up the genus Carcharhinus, and there are traces of its attacks on humans.

Bull Shark Feeding

It is an active hunter, the adults have a fairly varied diet, while in the young, due to their size, it is more restricted. But what does the bulldog shark eat? The diet of this type of shark includes a wide variety of fish, such as: trevallies, menhaden, tarpon, mullet, catfish, croaker, stingrays, sandbar sharks, s altwater catfish, snapper, mackerel, among other species.

It also consumes other types of animals typical of aquatic fauna, such as crabs, turtles, dolphins, shrimps, squids and birds. Although the Bull Shark appears to move slowly, it only does so when it is on the bottom, once it identifies possible prey it is able to move very quickly. Thus, this shark is a truly voracious carnivorous animal. Finally, he can also indulge in cannibalism.

Reproduction of Bull Shark

Maturity in this shark occurs for males when they reach 157-226 cm and when females are between 180-230 cm. When the female is ready for breeding, she changes her swimming style and the position of her snout and tail, so that the male can identify her. Once this happens copulation will occur and at this time the male frequently bites the female which is why they usually have scars on their pectoral and pelvic fins.

The bull shark is a viviparous species, the young therefore develop in a yolk sac. Generally, a litter has 6 to 8 individuals, but it can be less numerous or reach up to 13. The gestation period lasts between 10 and 11 months. Before birth, the female moves to estuaries or freshwater areas where the young will be born. They will stay in these spaces for some time, feeding and being cared for by the mother. Growth is about 18 cm the first year, 16 cm the second, then about 12 cm per year.

Conservation status of the bull shark

" The Bull Shark is listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Due to its ability to move through freshwater areas, it is more susceptible to various human impacts, such as habitat degradation and fishing. The species is traded mainly for its skin, liver and fins.There is also some demand for display in aquariums for its aggressiveness. Currently, bycatch is something that is significantly affecting populations in several regions."

There is no particular record of widespread conservation plans or actions to protect the species, other than decreasing the use of nets in the estuarine and freshwater areas where the species are found. breeding areas of the species. It is extremely important to review and apply measures in order to avoid greater risks to the survival of this magnificent animal.

Bull shark pictures

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