What Is the Life Cycle of the Bull Shark?

The bull shark life cycle starts when a mother gives birth to anywhere between one and 13 babies per litter. Its gestation period lasts 10 to 11 months, according to Wildscreen Arkive, and they generally give birth between late spring and early summer. They live in estuaries, river mouths and sometimes freshwater lakes. While scientists believe that mating takes place at a certain time, they haven't directly observed the practice.

Bull sharks are most frequently found in coastal waters, but they also inhabit bays, harbors and estuaries. According to Wildscreen Arkive, they commonly swim far into freshwater lakes and rivers. Bull sharks are found along all of the continental coasts of subtropical and tropical oceans. Scientists believe that bull sharks may not be able to complete their entire life cycles in freshwater and must have access to saltwater.

Bull sharks are rarely targeted by commercial fishing industries, but they are often caught as by-catch. They are a popular game fish off the coasts of Mexico and South Africa. They live relatively close to shore compared to other sharks and are particularly vulnerable to fishing, pollution and habitat modification caused by humans. Bull sharks are listed as "Near Threatened" on the IUCN Red List, and their populations are dwindling.