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Nat Geo WILD: Know Your Sharks—The Bull Shark

Unlike the dusky shark previously profiled, the bull shark is one of the three shark species notorious for attacking humans (with the great white and tiger shark rounding out the top three). Because the bull shark frequents shallow warm waters across the world, which happen to include high-population tropical shorelines, these attacks likely take place inadvertently or out of curiosity. Bull sharks tend to stick with fish for an ordinary meal, but have been known to indulge in the occasional dolphin, sea turtle, or smaller shark.

(Crittercam: Bull Sharks Hunting)

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. Unlike most sharks, they are able to swim through rivers unbothered by brackish and freshwater and have even been seen as far north as Illinois in the Mississippi river. Because of these characteristics, many experts consider bull sharks to be the most dangerous sharks in the world.

(Video: Backyard Bull Sharks)

Bull sharks currently are not threatened or endangered. However, they are fished widely for their meat, hides, and oils, and their numbers are likely shrinking. The bull shark is just one of many shark species we may encounter during the live show, and we’ll continue to profile more of the species we expect to see. Check out the Know Your Sharks Photo Gallery for more.