Bull sharks primarily eat bony fish and other sharks, including juvenile members of their own species. Less commonly, they also eat sea turtles, dolphins, sea birds, squid and swimming land mammals. In addition to marine habitats, they are the only shark species that regularly occurs in fresh water.
Bull sharks are a candidate for the most dangerous shark species from a human perspective due both to their large size and their presence in fresh water habitats such as rivers. They appear sluggish while swimming but can move very quickly when pursuing prey. Their favored environment is shallow coastal waters, although they also occur in deeper waters. They have a global distribution in tropical and subtropical coastal waters.
There are at least 69 recorded attacks by bull sharks on humans, including 17 fatal attacks. However, many attacks by unidentified species are likely due to this species, given its size and frequent proximity to human populations. Many of the regions it frequents have poor records of such events, so the true toll of bull shark attacks is unknown. The bull shark is not a species that is particularly targeted by fishing, but they are frequently caught by accident in commercial fishing operations.