What Feeding Habits Does A Bull Shark Have? The bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas, is a requiem shark that thrives in both freshwater and saltwater environments. It is known to have the adaptability to travel for about 700 miles from the ocean to the Mississippi River. It moves between freshwater and saltwater environments with ease, too, resulting in its varied diet and more contact with humans.
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Bull Sharks Are Solitary Hunters
The bull shark, by nature, is a solitary hunter. But it can also establish a short-term partnership with another bull shark for hunting purposes, usually to make tricking and catching their prey easier. It’s known as an aggressive predator and a territorial creature, thus, its preference for solitary hunting.
Its favorite hunting grounds are murky waters where its prey cannot see it coming. Take note that the bull shark has poor vision, but its ability to hunt in murky water is due to its keen sense of smell.
They Use Bump-And-Bite Attack
The bull shark uses a bump-and-bite technique in attacking its prey. It will typically head-butt its prey, bite and tackle it a few times, and then sink its sharp teeth into its prey. The hunting technique of this creature is the result of its poor vision. Bumping is its way of figuring out the size of its prey.
If a bull shark bumps you even once, you’re likely in trouble. You may be a prey!
Catching Prey Through Fast Speed
Don’t be deceived by the bull shark’s apparent slow speed in the water. It’s known for its quick bursts of speed, reaching more than 10 miles per hour, as well as for its agile movements. It’s also fearless in the sense that it won’t hesitate to prey on a larger animal, a behavior most sharks aren’t known to do.
Like other sharks, the bull shark is also an opportunistic feeder. Whatever is available, it will likely eat, even humans, and it is such aggressiveness that makes the bull shark dangerous.
The bull shark also eats in short yet intense bursts, a survival mechanism. When food is scarce, its digestive system slows down so that its food can be used for a longer period. It won’t then starve even with little to no food.
Bull Sharks And Their Prey
The bull shark’s menu depends on its location. If it’s in freshwater, its diet consists of crabs, tarpon fish, squid, sea urchins, sawfishes, and turtles, among others. It’s also been known to eat sloths, birds, dogs, cows, rats and antelope, even hippos and horses, when these are within easy reach.
Plus, the bull shark can have cannibalistic tendencies! During near-starvation periods, it has been known to eat its kind, usually the young and weak.
If it’s in seawater, its diet includes bony fish, dolphins, sea turtles, mollusks, and stingrays as well as echinoderms and crustaceans. It also eats all kinds of fish in schools as well as other sharks, which isn’t surprising, considering that it eats its kind.
The bull shark is a fascinating creature! With its ability to move between freshwater and seawater habitats and back again, it’s a force of nature to be reckoned with. It’s also a creature that humans should respect because it has its place on our planet.