Bull Shark - Characteristics, Diet and Habitat

Bull shark: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The bull shark (Carcharias taurus) is a species of shark that...

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The bull shark (Carcharias taurus) is a species of shark that belongs to the order Lamniformes and the family Odontaspididae. It is important to specify that it is not a question of a bull shark, because the latter belongs to the species Carcharhinus leucas of the order of Carcharhiniformes. The animal we are referring to here is Carcharias taurus, which has gained a reputation for repeatedly attacking humans. However, despite having a bite that could cause significant damage, most recorded accidents have not been the product of a direct attack on people.

This is a species that is usually captured to be kept in captivity and displayed in aquariums, in addition to being traded for human consumption, two things that have heavily affected its populations. We invite you to continue reading this PlanèteAnimal sheet in which you will learn all about the characteristics of the bull shark!


  • Africa
  • America
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Oceania
  • Albania
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Bermuda
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Croatia
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Spain
  • United States
  • France
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Mexico
  • Mozambique
  • United Kingdom

Bull Shark Features

The bull shark is sturdy and very big. How tall is a bull shark? This shark measures around 3.5 meters on average, although some reports record larger individuals. As for the weight, it is between 95 and 110 kilos; females are generally larger than males. In this way, we can say that the bull shark is one hell of a piece.

The color of the body is gray and can be of different intensity depending on the individual. The lower area is white with yellowish or brown spots on the back.

On the other hand, the two dorsal fins are similar in size to the anal, the pelvic fins are characteristically delayed, and the caudal fin is shorter. The head is flattened and the eyes small. As for the muzzle, it has a pointed shape, and the mouth has several rows of teeth, which have smooth and quite sharp edges. Even when it has its mouth closed, its protruding dental structures are particularly visible, giving it an intimidating presence.

Like the rest of the sharks, it has a complex perception system, capable of detecting both chemical and electrical signals from its possible prey, as well as orienting itself according to the earth's magnetic field.

Bull shark habitat

Where does the bull shark live? This shark is typically found in coastal, subtropical, and warm temperate waters of almost all continental bodies. Some of the regions where it is common to see it are:

  • Florida.
  • Gulf of Mexico.
  • Bahamas.
  • Bermuda.
  • Brazil.
  • North of Argentina.
  • Canary Islands.
  • Senegal.
  • Ghana.
  • Nigeria.
  • Cameroon.
  • Mozambique.
  • Japan.
  • Australia.

It is usually found in shallow areas with sandy bottoms, also in rocky caves and coral reefs. It can also be observed in areas with waves. The maximum depth to which it is usually submerged is 25 meters, although there are occasional instances where it has reached nearly 200 meters.

Bull Shark Habits

This shark usually moves alone, but it can also do so in groups, which facilitates mating, hunting and increases both protection and its chances of survival.Populations in the north or south tend to seasonally migrate to warmer waters. According to some documents, migration processes are carried out by groups divided according to size and gender.

They are most active at night, during the day they usually float in water columns on sandy bottoms, in caves or coral reefs. To float, they hold air in their stomachs, so they can stay calm without moving. The recurrent sighting of the species in specific areas has allowed us to assume that it shows an attachment to certain places in particular.

The bull shark is not aggressive towards humans, however, it is always recommended not to approach or enter its ranges as it may feel threatened and its size as well as its strong bite, make it a dangerous species.

Bull Shark Feeding

It is a carnivorous fish that feeds on a wide variety of animals belonging to the marine fauna, among which we can mention:

  • Different types of bony fish
  • Other small sharks.
  • Crabs
  • Lobsters
  • Stripes.
  • Squid
  • Molluscs.

Although it can hunt alone, when it is with other bull sharks, it does so in groups, which increases the success of catches, since they cooperate with each other at this time. Identifying schools of fish or groups of other animals that it includes in its diet, it pounces on them frantically, catching as many as possible.

Reproduction of the bull shark

Males often mate with more than one female. Gestation lasts between 9 and 12 months and the type of reproduction is ovoviviparous, that is, the offspring will develop until the moment of birth in the mother's womb.Although several eggs are fertilized and several embryos are formed, usually only two will complete the process, because once the larger ones hatch from the egg, they will eat the others. This phenomenon occurs because a 5 cm shark fetus has already developed jaws and teeth, which facilitates intrauterine cannibalism in the species. This, in addition, facilitates that the offspring are born well developed and able to be independent as soon as possible.

At birth, baby bull sharks are typically over a meter in length. Males mature when they reach almost 2m in length or between 4 and 5 years old, while females mature at around 2m or 6 years old. The life expectancy in captivity is between 13 and 16 years, but it is estimated that, in their natural habitat, they manage to reach 35 years.

Bull shark conservation status

The bull shark is in a vulnerable state according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and in danger of extinction by other regional legislation, such as that of Australia.The main reason for their vulnerability is overfishing, an action carried out in various ways in many parts of the world. It is a highly traded shark for human consumption, as its meat is sold fresh, frozen, smoked, dried or s alted. On the other hand, its liver is used for oil production and the fins are used to make soup.

Some actions for its conservation aim to declare this animal as a protected species in different regions and to guide large fisheries in its capture.

Bull shark photos

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