Bull female bull shark carries her pups

Bull sharks are one of the most dangerous sharks in the world. They are aggressive and have a unique ability to adapt to both saltwater and freshwater. Check out this lesson to learn more interesting facts about bull sharks.

Getting to Know the Bull Shark

Have you ever been swimming in the ocean? Were you worried about being attacked by a shark? It is common knowledge that sharks are swimming in the ocean and that they sometimes attack humans.

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But did you know that there is also a dangerous shark that can be lurking in freshwater, such as rivers and lakes? It’s true! The bull shark can live in either freshwater or saltwater.

Bull sharks can live in freshwater or saltwater.

Most sharks have the same concentration, or amount, of salt in their blood as that of the water around them, but not the bull shark! These sharks can actually control the amount of salt in their bodies! They have a special gland called the rectal gland that helps them adapt to their environment by getting rid of extra salt while in saltwater and by storing salt while in freshwater. Their kidneys and liver can also adjust to their environment depending on how salty it is.Bull sharks are dangerous because they like to live in warm, shallow waters–the same waters that people like to swim in. They can survive in, and sometimes prefer, water that is as shallow as two feet deep.

Physical Characteristics

Like a real bull, the bull shark has a short, blunt snout and is attracted to bright colors like red. Their bodies are gray on top and white underneath. Female bull sharks are actually larger than the males. A female bull shark is usually about 7.

8 feet long and 285 pounds, while a male is usually about 7.3 feet long and 210 pounds. The females are larger because they carry pups and tend to live longer. A female bull shark lives an average of 16 years, while a male lives an average of 12.

Bull sharks have a short, blunt snout.

Predators and Prey

In the ocean, killer whales and larger sharks–even other larger bull sharks–are predators to bull sharks.

In freshwater, bull sharks are preyed on by crocodiles.Bull sharks aren’t picky eaters and will eat just about anything. Mostly they eat fish, but they will also eat dolphins, sea turtles, and other sharks. They are very territorial, too, so if you are in their space, you might be their prey. Bull sharks are also like bulls in that they head-butt their prey.

Bull Shark Pups

Female sharks have babies called pups. A female bull shark carries her pups for 10-11 months and can give birth to up to 13 pups at a time. Bull shark pups are over two feet long when they are born–27 inches on average. As soon as bull shark pups are born, the mother swims away and leaves the pups to fend for themselves.

Lesson Summary

Bull sharks have a special ability to adapt to both freshwater and saltwater because they have a rectal gland that regulates the salt in their body.

Bull sharks are dangerous because they live in warm, shallow waters where people like to swim. Female bull sharks are larger than males and can have up to 13 pups, or baby sharks, at a time.


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