Australian Wildlife

  Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)

Bull Shark | Carcharhinus leucas photo
Bull Shark

Image by Albert Kok - License: Public Domain.    (view image details)


The Bull Shark is a large shark with stout body, short blunt snout, and adults have no fin markings. It has two dorsal fins, the second is about one third the height of the first. The eye is small and there is no ridge between the two dorsal fins. It is grey above with pale underside. There is sometimes a pale stripe on the flank. The upper teeth are triangular and serrated. Young sharks have dark tips on the fins.

Other Names
River Shark, Freshwater Whaler, Estuary Whaler, Swan River Whaler.

length to 3.5m. Weight to 317kg.

Found in coastal and freshwater including around reefs, bays, estuaries, rivers, and lakes and depths from 1m to 150m. It travels far up rivers and can cover up to 180km in 24 hours. Adults are often found near estuaries and freshwater inflows to the sea. Young enter rivers and may be found tens or hundreds of km upstream.

fish, other sharks, rays, shrimps, crabs, squid, sea urchins, carrion, sea turtles, dolphins, birds, molluscs

Viviparous. Gives birth to litters of up to 13 young. Sexual maturity is reached after 10-15 years at length of 1.6m - 2m.

The Bull Shark is widespread in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide. In Australia it is found from south-west coast of Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and south to the central coast of New South Wales.

The Bull Shark is aggressive and dangerous to humans. It has been repeatedly implicated in attacks on humans. It is considered by some authors to be even more dangerous than the Great White Shark and Tiger Shark because it is omnivorous and often frequents murky water where a swimmer could be mistaken for a struggling fish. Attacks in fresh water are rare.

Common Name:Bull Shark

Relatives in same Genus
  Grey Whaler Shark (C. amblyrhynchos)
  Silky Shark (C. falciformis)
  Blacktip Reef Shark (C. melanopterus)
  Dusky Shark (C. obscurus)