The Bull shark
is a solitary carnivore that feeds mostly on bony fish, dolphins, other
sharks, rays, crabs, squid, sea snails, sea urchins, mammalian carrion, and sea
turtles. It is also one of the few species of cannibalistic
sharks, and feeds on smaller sharks of the same species.
Bull sharks often
appear sluggish as they slowly cruise along the bottom, but are quite quick and
effective at capturing smaller, agile prey. They are capable of burst speeds of
over 11 mph.
How sharks find food
The bull shark has a very keen sense of smell and it usually locates prey by sensing blood in the water from a wounded animal. A splashing sound also tempts them to attack, as would the sight of a flailing animal. Sharks listen for low frequency, irregular sounds, like those made by a struggling fish. They also look for flickering shapes, like a fish's glinting scales. The shark's eyes, ears, and nose are all situated near its mouth. But sharks also detect their prey with sensory receptors that run along their sides. These receptors make up the lateral line, an organ similar in function to the ear which can feel pulses or vibrations in the water. A shark might sense the flailing of an animal in distress and swim closer to investigate. When sharks get particularity close to prey they use a special sense called electroreception. These electroreception organs sit inside of the shark’s snout. Living things submerged in seawater produce a faint electrical field that sharks can feel at short distances, allowing it to detect creatures that bury themselves in the sea floor. Muscle contractions also produce little surges of electrical activity that a shark can detect using electroreception. It is also believed that sharks use this electroreception sense like a compass to navigate underwater.
Photo by: Tobey Curtis