Amazon Rainforest

Amazon River Bull Shark Facts

Most people believe that sharks only live in the ocean. However, there’s an entire shark species that lives in the river. Surprisingly, there are sharks living the murky waters of the Amazon River. The Amazon region is home to the bull shark, which is considered to be the most dangerous shark in the world. But why are they found in rivers? Keep reading to find out!

Its physical characteristics inspire its name

The bull shark owes its name to the fierce land animal, the bill. It has a stocky shape and a short, blunt snout. Bull sharks are notorious for their aggressive, unpredictable behaviour. Also, it is thought that these sharks dislike bright colours, including red, just like the bulls.

Similar to their fearsome cousins, tiger and white sharks, bull sharks are hefty and heavily built animals. They are grey on top with a white underbelly and have long pectoral fins with dark tips. They have an average weight of 500 pounds and an average length of around 7 feet. Females are larger and longer-living than males.

The Amazon Rainforest is an immense ecosystem, providing a habitat for wonderful creatures such as the bull shark

Bull sharks are found worldwide in warm, shallow waters along coasts, in estuaries, and  rivers. Its ability to adapt to both salt and freshwater conditions is unique among sharks. Bull sharks can thrive in both salt and freshwater and can travel far up rivers.

Its tolerance for very low or high salinity increases depending on its age. The majority of the newborn or very young bull sharks are found in the freshwater area, while older bull sharks are found in the saltwater areas. As bull sharks age, they develop a better tolerance for salinity, because they have special kidneys that can sense the change in salinity of the surrounding water and, therefore, adapt accordingly.

Bull sharks will eat anything they can sink their teeth into

They are fast, agile and opportunistic hunters, so they will eat almost anything they see. The bull sharks’ diet consists mainly of bony fish and small sharks, including other bull sharks, but can also include turtles, birds, dolphins, terrestrial mammals, crustaceans, echinoderms, and stingrays. The bull shark is known to be a solitary hunter.

This skillful hunter is being hunt

Similar to many other animals, the bull sharks are habitually hunted for their fins, hide, meat and liver oil. They may also be caught for sport or captured for display in aquariums. Habitat destruction and water pollution may also be contributing negatively to the health and numbers of these sharks. Indeed, their average lifespan has declined significantly over the past few decades.

All of us can contribute to the conservation of the fragile ecosystems where many unique animals are living, including the Bull shark. Our Amazon Rainforest Ecolodge can help you experience this wonderful home to amazing species with minimal impact on the environment. Learn more about staying at an Amazon Ecolodge here. Stay comfortably in one of our bungalows, all equipped with solar water, air conditioning, and bathrooms.