Interesting Shark Facts

What Types of Sharks Live in Rivers

Rivers, lakes and streams all are freshwater bodies. Although it is rare, yes few species of sharks live in the freshwater ecosystem – the River sharks! You can find such species of shark probably in Central and South East Asia and Australia. Some species of sharks spend their whole life in the freshwater environment whereas others only visit the place for a short period of time.

Would you like to dive with us into the freshwater ecosystem to discover more about river sharks? Are you ready for this incredible adventure? Ok – let’s begin!

River sharks – what significant features do they possess?

With few exceptions to saltwater, the river sharks are adapted to live in the freshwater environment. They are small in size and have broad snouts with small round eyes. The average length of river sharks is 9 feet – larger in size than most of the shark’s species living in the ocean! Usually, these sharks are not very active predators so they hunt their prey by being extremely aggressive to the victim!

However, the significant adoption in river sharks is that their body produces excess salt so to eliminate the salt from their bodies they prefer to live in the freshwater rather than saline environment. Moreover, the liver of river sharks is filled with oil which provides them buoyancy during swimming and prevents the sinking of sharks at the bottom of the rivers.

Now we are going to open up the mystery box to discover the names of river sharks! Here we go!

Types of sharks thriving in the rivers

We have shortlisted some of the common examples of rivers sharks and their adapted features:

1: Bull sharks

One of the most aggressive species of sharks that thrive in the rivers is Bull sharks! They are the only shark’s species that live in both freshwater and saline water bodies – with only 50% of salts in their body! Bull sharks are sturdy, strong and savage species that can swim up to a mile in a day. They reside mostly in those localities where people are more frequent and attack them out of anger or mistakenly recognize them as food. Furthermore, they can live in the aquariums and in captivity for a longer period of time happily!

2: Spear-tooth sharks                            

The spare-tooth sharks have streamlined bodies with flattened snout and can reach to the average length of 8.5 feet. They prefer to live in freshwater bodies but some species are also spotted in the saltwater. Their streamlined bodies along with the tidal currents help them to move in the upward and downward directions without wasting much energy. They feed on small fishes, crustaceans, squids, crabs and lobsters. You can easily locate them in Northern Australia and Papua New Guinea.

3: Northern River sharks

New Guinea River sharks – the other name for Northern river sharks! The sharks prefer to live in the coastal bays and tidal rivers with muddy and silty bottoms. These have poor vision due to musky water waves. The average length is 8.2 to 9 feet – the largest sharks of the freshwater bodies. The exceptional electroreceptors present on the snout helps them to locate and trap the prey.

4: Ganges sharks

The Ganges sharks are called the true river sharks because they live only in freshwater bodies and avoid saline habitat. You can probably locate them in Bangladesh and India – in the rivers of Myanmar, Hooghly, Brahmaputra and Ganges. The average length of these sharks is 5 to 6.5 feet, they are mostly bottom dwellers and are found living at the bottom of the rivers. The liver oil provides them buoyancy while swimming and prevents them from sinking down.

5: Borneo River sharks

Borneo River sharks are also called Mythical sharks because they are the rare type of sharks that are spotted in the Malaysian Borneo and Kinabatangan River in Sabah. They live in the warm waters of tropical zones, they are small size sharks with an average length of 2 feet only, slit like snout and small circular eyes. The dietary items include bony fishes such as tuna and sardines – grab them with their serrated sharp teeth!

Final words

Most of the shark’s species live in the ocean water but few species of sharks live in the freshwater bodies such as rivers, lakes and streams. These species of sharks include bull sharks, spear-tooth sharks, Northern river sharks, Ganges sharks and mythical sharks. They live in freshwater because they lack a swim bladder, the oil in the liver provides them buoyancy while swimming. The other reason is they have excess salts in their body, to remove the salt, they need excess water – so they prefer freshwater environments! If you are still confused, why don’t you take a dive with them and let them tell you more evidently about their natural habitat!

About the author

Yumna Ahmad

An experienced content writer, photographer, and avid reader amazed by the sea world and its creatures. I am lettin people become fascinated with the ocean planet through my writings.