Carcharhinus leucas, commonly known as Bull Sharks, are one of the biggest sharks; they are ferocious hunters who consume a wide range of prey. Bull sharks are so named because of their narrow, broad snouts, brawny personalities, and propensity to headbutt their victims before striking.

Bull sharks not only visit freshwater for brief periods of time. In other locations, they migrate far upriver, and there is a semi-permanent population in Central America that was formerly believed to be a different species.


Bull Sharks may be identified from other sharks mostly by the significant width-to-length ratio of their bodies, which gives them a hefty look. Bull Sharks, like many fish, have countershading or black coloring on top and bright coloring underneath. Its black back blends into the murky water below when viewed from above, aiding the animal in hiding from prey.

Typicall Bull Shark, close-up of its distinct rounded head features.
Typical Bull Shark, close-up of its distinct rounded head features

Furthermore, from below, its white belly disappears into the brightly lighted water overhead. In Bull Sharks, the females are the largest members of the species. Bull Sharks have a maximum length of 11 ft for females and a maximum length of 6.8-7 ft for males. Typically, Bull Sharks weigh anywhere from 200 to 500 lbs.


Bull Sharks are lone hunters, yet they may occasionally join together to make seeking and trapping prey easier. The Bull Shark mostly consumes bony fish, sting rays, and even other smaller Bull Sharks.  Aside from fish, they may also eat crabs, echinoderms, seabirds, dolphins, turtles, and land animals. 

Bull sharks like to hunt in murky waters because it is more challenging for prey to see approaching sharks. Prior to biting their victims, they are known to torment them by bumping them. Bull sharks continue to bite and grapple their prey after making their initial contact with it until the prey is rendered immobilized.


Anywhere that has warm, shallow coastal waters is where you can find bull sharks. Bull sharks may be found worldwide in coastal waters. They may be found in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Eastern seaboard of the United States, respectively. Bull sharks, unlike the majority of sharks, can spend a considerable amount of time in freshwater.

Bull Shark leaping on the surface, a skill they utilize in streams.
Bull Shark leaping on the surface, a skill they utilize in streams.

They’ve even been discovered in the Mississippi and Amazon rivers. They frequently interact with people since they favor shallow coastal water. Bull sharks are frequently regarded as the sharks that are most harmful to people due to their aggressive nature and capacity to move up rivers.


Between late summer and early fall, bull sharks frequently spawn in bays. After a 12-month breeding cycle, a bull shark may give birth to one to thirteen live pups. Since they are viviparous, they may swim right away after giving birth. Bull sharks give birth to their young in shallow, protected waters since they do not care for their young.

A popular nursery environment is a coastal lagoon or a river outlet. Bull Sharks can start breeding as males at the age of 15, but females have to wait until they are 18 to start. Prior to the female turning over so that the male may mate, the male most often bites her on the tail. Following mating, female Bull Sharks are marked.


Bull sharks are heavily hunted for their flesh, skins, and oils, and it is likely that their population is declining. When these sharks are upriver, most of these unintentional catches occur. In an effort to protect holidaymakers and other visitors, they are occasionally the focus of shark removal operations. 

Hammerhead shark circling around a Bull Shark on the sea bottom.
Hammerhead shark circling around a Bull Shark on the sea bottom

Regarding natural predators, bigger sharks like the tiger shark and great white shark may attack them but normally only target young ones. In rivers, bull sharks can be in danger from crocodiles. Saltwater crocodiles have been recorded feasting on Bull Sharks in the rivers of Australia and in the African continent.

Facts about the Bull Shark

  1. Bull Sharks’ kidneys and unique glands let them retain salt when swimming in freshwater.
  2. Bull Sharks may grow to a maximum length of 13 ft and a maximum weight of 700 pounds.
  3. A Bull Shark can swim at a top speed of 25 mph.
  4. Bull Sharks can leap upstream on rivers.
  5. Sharks’ bites from Bull Sharks are the most powerful, pound-per-pound.


Will a Bull Shark attack you?

Because of their aggressive nature and capacity to move up rivers, Bull Sharks are frequently regarded as the shark species that pose the greatest risk to people. However, actual Bull Shark attacks on humans are a rare occurrence due to safety measures and general caution.

Why is it called a Bull Shark?

Carcharhinus leucas is the scientific name for the bull shark. Because the majority of sharks in this family, including the tiger shark, have extremely pointed nostrils, the name “Carcharhinus” means “sharp-nosed.” This is not true with bull sharks, which have short, rounded, blunt snouts. The Greek word “Leucos,” which means “white,” is the root of the English term “Leucas,” which refers to the bull shark’s underbelly.

How strong is a Bull Shark bite?

The average bite strength of a Bull Shark is around 1,350 psi (pounds per square inch), which, when compared to other large sharks and even land animals, easily gets in the top 10 list for the strongest bite.

What to do if you see a Bull Shark?

Bull Sharks are known to initially bump their prey before attacking, which, if you can already see the shark, then you have a chance. Keep your movements controlled, and don’t splash around; steadily make your way to the shore, and even then back away. Bull Sharks are known to leap upstream and can attack if you are still at the shore’s edge. 

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