Wildlife Fact Sheets

Bull Shark

Bull Shark

Bull Shark

Carcharhinus leucas

  • Life Span
    I can live up to 16 years in the wild.
  • Habitat
    I like shallow waters for hunting.
  • Range
    I’m all over the place! You can find me on the coasts of tropical and subtropical waters. And sometimes even in freshwater rivers and lakes.
  • Preferred Food
    I’m not too picky! I will eat a range of bony fish, turtles, dolphins and even land mammals.


As my name suggests, you wouldn’t want to put me in a china shop. I can grow to almost 12 feet long and can weigh up to 500 pounds. I have a rounded head, small eyes and a grey body with a paler grey stomach. My name comes from my short, blunt snout and my habit of head-butting prey before I attack, kind of like a charging bull. And, yes, I can be quite aggressive.

Unlike most of my fellow sharks, I venture out of salt water habitats and can handle brackish or even fresh water. I spend a lot of time on tropical shorelines, but have been spotted inland in rivers and tributaries, including in the Amazon River. Not expecting to see a big shark in your local river, huh?

Did You Know?

We are agile animals, despite our size! Bull sharks have been spotted leaping up river rapids, almost like salmon, en route to inland lakes.

Status and Conservation

I’m an excellent hunter. I am speedy and agile and prey on a number of species, including other sharks (sometimes even juvenile bull sharks!). My eyes are relatively small, but that doesn’t bother me–I can rely on my other senses to hunt, especially in murky waters.

These senses come in handy when females head to more turbid estuaries to give birth. The juvenile sharks stay in these waters until the temperature gets too chilly and they head to warmer offshore waters.

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