The Monthly Species: November

The Monthly Species

If you weren’t aware although I am a botanist by trade I absolutely adore sharks! I ever dedicated a whole week to them last year which you can find here. I therefore had to include one on my Monthly Species list! So today we’re talking about the Bull Shark!

Image result for bull shark

Bull sharks get their name from their short, blunt snout, as well as their pugnacious disposition and a tendency to head-butt their prey before attacking. They are medium-size sharks, with thick, stout bodies and long pectoral fins. They are gray on top and white below, and the fins have dark tips, particularly on young bull sharks.

Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Carcharhinidae
Genus: Carcharhinus
Species: C. leucas

Size: 7 to 11.5 ft long with the largest verified shark being 12 foot long and they weigh between 200 to 500 lbs.

Diet: Given their fast and agile nature, Bull sharks will eat almost anything they can catch. This includes fish, dolphins and other sharks. They do not go after humans specifically however bull sharks are often in turbid waters of bays where humans are common. This combination leads to some human attacks.

Life Expectancy: 16 years in the wild
Reproduction: 
They have a gestational period of 10 to 11 months and pups are born alive. Bull sharks do not raise there young but instead will bear them in protected costal regions commonly referred to as nurseries.

Conservation: According to the IUCN Bull sharks are classed as Near Threatened on the red list. This is mainly due to the sharks being hunted for their meat and for their fins. 

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species: There are a lot of cool things about bull sharks. They have been seen leaping up river rapids, salmon-like, to reach inland lakes. This can mean they can be found up to 2500 miles in land!! Secondly Bull sharks are among a few sharks that can survive in both saltwater as well as freshwater. They can do this because they’ve developed “super kidneys” that can remove large amounts of a salty compound called urea from the bloodstream.

ThatBiologist Everywhere!

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