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While bull sharks are commonly found along coastlines, bays, and harbors, they also frequent a most uncommon shark habitat—freshwater rivers. ", "They are one of the few sharks that will tangle with prey that's the same size or even bigger than them," the marine biologist added. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. A shark jawbone found in the Mississippi River of northern Minnesota in 2017 turned out to be from a sand shark, which can’t survive in freshwater and was most likely dumped there by a pet owner or prankster. Bull sharks happily tolerate the murky water found in estuaries and bays. Where in the world is Jeremy Wade? An article from a Montana newspaper went viral in 2015 when it claimed that a fisherman caught a juvenile bull shark on the Missouri River, but it turned out to … However, scientists have yet to uncover precisely what those advantages may be. Bull sharks, however, can swim up fresh water rivers rather easily. Some of their favorite rivers include the Brisbane River, Amazon River, Ganges River, Barhamputra River, Potomac River and the Mississippi River. United States, We are always looking for any writers or illustrators interested in joining in on the fun behind bringing news about the world's aquatic wonders to the public, if interested please email us: Local reports in 2016 and 2017 claim bull sharks are still in lakes and waterways around St. Louis, more than 1,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Their ability to tolerate freshwater is rooted in salt retention. Distribution of the Bull Shark. Officially, bull sharks have made it up the Mississippi as far as Illinois. "In addition to small fish, they might attack a sea turtle, another shark, or the occasional dolphin. River Monsters River Monsters River Monsters River Monsters More from this Show. Jeremy Wade catches a bull shark in South Africa's Breede River. I'd be more worried about the flying sturgeon but hey back in the early 1900s the bull sharks attacked and chomped and killed some young recreational swimmers in upstate New Jersey. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- They give birth in the fresh water of rivers. After storms and flooding it is common to find bull sharks in inland lakes and rivers they might not normally be able to access. "Visibility is a huge factor in shark attacks," Burgess said. It was there that two commercial fishermen in 1937 noticed that their mesh traps were consistently getting raided by a large predator. What's certain is that much more research is needed to understand why these unique sharks turn up in such unlikely locales as the Land of Lincoln. Just something to keep in mind for those people who swim in the Missippi River, apparently there was a 600 plus pound Bull Shark found in the River near St. Louis, Mo. The furthest inland a bull shark has ever been seen in North America is Alton, Ill. Alton sits along the Mississippi River about 15 miles north of St. Louis, and 1750 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Bull sharks have traveled up the Mississippi River as far north as Illinois and are regularly spotted in India's Ganges. Freshwater tolerance could be rooted in competition for saltwater food resources, where perhaps bull sharks suffered and needed to develop an edge. They have been spotted several hundred miles upstream in these rivers, but typically stay within 100 miles of the Ocean. Bull sharks are among the most common sharks in Florida waters and are often encountered by divers. Q. I've been told by those who should know that there are bull sharks in the Mississippi River, as they can swim in water other than the ocean. It is characterized by a slender build and white blotches on the body. Adult bull sharks likely gain their own competitive advantages from salt retention. Female bull sharks can get as large as nine feet, and can be found as far north as the Mississippi River in Illinois, Hovland said. Tune in Sunday, April 5, at 9/8c, to find out! “We reeled in the beast for a … "They are one of the few warm-water, coastal sharks that will attack big prey," said Mike Heithaus, a shark expert at Florida International University in Biscayne Bay. John O’Keefe, a Canadian tourist, captured the 3,000-pound beast while fishing for sturgeon in Michigan Lake. For the most part, bull sharks dine on bony fishes or smaller sharks—but they sometimes aggressively tackle much larger prey. On Sept. 8, 1937, fishermen caught a bull shark in the upper Mississippi River north of St. Louis near Alton, Illinois. "That's one of the reasons we suggest that people avoid murky water situations when they go into the water.". The species has been spotted 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) up the Amazon River in South America and dwell in Lake Nicaragua, a freshwater lake in Central America. It is found to a depth of 150 m (490 ft), but does not usually swim deeper than 30 m (98 ft). "It's amazing how little we really know," Heithaus said. “According to National Geographic, bull sharks that live in the Gulf of Mexico are one of the few shark species that can tolerate fresh water. In the town of Alton, Illinois, which is above St. Louis, two commercial fisherman caught a bull shark in the river. Residents of Alton, Illinois, which is above St. Louis near Alton, located. Far north as Illinois have not been able to verify this as of yet, but it makes think! Aid in salt retention lots of freshwater inflow, such as brackish River mouths to live in water... 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