Bull shark, Ganges, Nicaragua, river, shovelnose, slipway, grey, square-nose, Van Rooyens, Zambezi shark
It is possible that this species is actually responsible for many of the attacks attributed to great whites. They are unusual in that they spend a lot of time in fresh water.
The largest bull shark was recorded at 3.4m, but on average, females reach lengths of 2.5m and males 2.3m.
Bull sharks have grey backs and white bellies, with a short, blunt snout. They are a chunky species and the dorsal fin is placed relatively far forward on the shark's back.
Bull sharks are found in all tropical and subtropical seas along coastlines and also in a few fresh water rivers and lakes, hence the alternative names.
They can only live in fresh water for a short time, although they have been recorded 2,500 miles up the Amazon.
Bull sharks are predatory and feed on a wide variety of prey including other sharks and fish, birds, turtles, dolphins, carcasses and crustaceans. They are relatively slow-moving.
Bull sharks may possibly be the most frequent attackers of humans, as the wounds they inflict are often attributed to great whites. They are less selective feeders than great whites and occur closer inshore and in freshwater. They have attacked bathers in various freshwater and estuarine localities, including regularly in the Hooghli of India, and as far upstream as Baghdad in Iraq. Interestingly, they are more docile when found in clear water habitats and are increasingly encountered by divers, without incident.
They are solitary but will sometimes form groups when feeding. Females give birth to between 1-13 pups after a gestation period of about a year.
Bull sharks are classified as Lower Risk by the 2000 IUCN Red List.