Marine Biology

Behavior of the Bull Shark



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The bull shark, carcharhinus leucas, is a shark common worldwide in warm shallow waters along coasts and rivers. The bull shark is known for its unpredictability, and often aggressive behavior. Scientists agree that since they are common in shallow waters, the bull shark is especially dangerous to humans. That puts them in a group with the great white shark, tiger shark, as the most likely to attack people. One thing that separates bull sharks from other marine mammals is that they have been known to tolerate fresh water. This is why they are responsible for so many of the shark attacks on humans and other species. Although they can tolerate it they are not true fresh water sharks like the river shark genus.

Habitat

The bull shark is found all over the world in many areas, they are not migratory but they have been known to travel long distances. They are especially common in the coastal areas of warm oceans. They are also common in rivers, lakes, and sometimes streams.

Diet

Bull sharks are apex predator, and rarely have to fear being attacked by other animals. Humans are there biggest threat. Some larger sharks may attack them and saltwater crocodiles may eat them if they enter their territory. Bull sharks are carnivores and their diet includes fish, other sharks, dolphins, rays, birds, turtles, echinoderms, mollusks, crustaceans,

Behavior

Bull sharks are solitary hunters. They cruise through the water and then suddenly burst into speed and can be highly aggressive. Bull sharks are very territorial and will attack other animals and humans if they enter their territory. These sharks along with the great white, tiger, and oceanic whitetip as the most dangerous sharks to humans. Scientists now believe that many of the attacks we once thought were great whites were actually bull sharks. One or more of these sharks might have been responsible for the attack that inspired the movie Jaw. Bull sharks breed in the summer, often in the brackish water of river mouths. After gestating for about a year, a bull shark may give live birth to as many as 13 live young. These pups are 28 inches at birth and take 10 years to reach maturity.

Appearance

Bull sharks are large and stout. Males can reach 7ft and weigh up to 200 pounds. Females can be much larger. They can reach 11.5 feet and weigh 700 pounds. Bull sharks are larger than other of similar length. They are white on the top and grey on the top. The second dorsal fin is smaller then the first.

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