15 Interesting Facts About Bull Sharks
What do hippos, golf courses and salty wee have to do with sharks? Check out this epic list of amazing bull shark facts to find out!
You've probably heard of the famous Great White, but no real shark fan would turn their snout up at these deadly bull shark facts! Looking for more fishiness like this? Take a bite out of these fragrant fish facts, this shark trivia quiz, or even find out what shark is most like you! Go on!
Bull sharks have the strongest bite of any shark, and can bite down twice as hard as a Great White. So you have no chance against one in a toffee eating contest.
2. They're aggressive
Bull sharks have been known to attack humans - and they also live in the same places humans do, like shallow tropical waters. This means that alongside Tiger Sharks and Great Whites they're one of the most dangerous sharks on Earth.
3. But don't panic!
Even though they're more likely to attack humans than other sharks, the number of shark attacks every year is SUPER small. Don't forget that we're a much bigger threat to sharks than sharks are to us. In fact, we're a bigger threat to ourselves than sharks are, too!
4. They'll eat anything
Unlike actual bulls, bull sharks are meat eaters. They'll eat fish, dolphins, other sharks and pretty much anything else they can find. They have eaten people in the past, but more out of curiosity. We probably don't taste great, anyway.
5. They have a go at hippos sometimes!
Bull sharks are big fans of the shoals of fish that eat hippo poo. In fact, hippos are usually followed around by fish who eat their poo, and bull sharks often follow those fish round too, picking them off as a nice easy snack. In the confusion of shark, hippo, fish and poo, it's not uncommon for sharks to try and take a bite of hippo. Usually hippos are easily tough enough to send the sharks packing, though.
6. Bull sharks swim a long way inland sometimes
Unlike many sharks, bull sharks are happy in sea water or freshwater. This means they can swim a surprising distance up rivers. Bull sharks have been found as far inland as parts of the Amazon, almost 2500 miles away from the ocean!
7. It's all to do with wee
Being able to live in seawater and freshwater is actually very impressive, and bull sharks do it by controlling how much salt is in their wee. In freshwater, bull sharks do really watery wees, whilst in seawater their wee is salty. They do this to keep the perfect amount of salt in their bodies, no matter how salty the water around them is. It's hard work on their kidneys, but opens up lots of freshwater feeding grounds - so probably worth it.
8. Sharks are really, really old
Like all sharks, bull sharks have been on Earth for millions and millions of years. In fact, sharks probably evolved 450 million years ago. To put that in perspective, dinosaurs appeared 230 million years ago. And trees only evolved about 350 million years ago... so yes, you read that right - sharks are 100 million years older than trees! Woah!
9. Bull sharks give birth
Sharks are fish. And whilst most fish lay eggs, many give birth to live young. Most sharks give birth to live young, and bull sharks are one of these. Here's a pic of a pregnant lady shark:
10. Baby shark doo-doo-doo-doo
Scientists recently discovered that some shark pregnancies start off with around 12 baby sharks, but only 2 get born. Why is this? Well, in the case of the Sand Tiger shark it turns out that as soon as the baby sharks grow teeth and eyes, they eat the others. This ensures only the strongest survive, and they leave the womb bigger and ready to make it in the big wide world. This has been seen in sand tiger sharks, and is likely to happen in other species too. Bull sharks can give birth to anywhere from 1-13 baby sharks, so it's possible they do the same thing.
11. They are well camouflaged
Bull sharks are dark grey on the top, and white underneath. This makes it much harder to spot them whether you're swimming above or below them - which makes it much harder for you to escape if they're coming for you!
12. Bull sharks can detect electricity
Like all sharks, bull sharks can pick up the tiny electrical charges that other animals make, helping them pinpoint exactly where they are in the water. This "6th sense" is unlike anything us humans have, and helps them be the incredibly succesful predators that they are.
13. Bull sharks can live to 30!
In the wild, bull sharks usually live about 16 years or so. But bull sharks are one of the few species of sharks that does OK in captivity, and has been recorded living up to 30 years in a zoo. That doesn't mean it was happy though, and obviously the best place for a shark is in the sea.
14. Some bull sharks live on a golf course
There's a group of bull sharks that have moved in to a lake in a gold course in Brisbane, Eastern Australia. The lake is connected to the sea and the sharks have happily lived there alongside the golfers for years now. Obviously it's not recommended you go in to the water to get your golf balls back.
15. They're threatened
Unfortunately, like many animals, bull sharks are threatened by what us humans are doing. If you want to find out more, check out this climate change quiz. And if we want to get serious about looking after animals it's pretty clear that we need to learn how to live in a different way. It's gonna be hard and take a lot of work for the people in charge, but that's what we're gonna have to do. Are you ready for it?