We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Ganges Shark?

Marjorie McAtee
By Marjorie McAtee
Updated Mar 05, 2024
Our promise to you
AllThingsNature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AllThingsNature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Ganges shark is a river shark believed to inhabit the Ganges and Hooghly rivers of West Bengal, India. Little is known about this species of freshwater shark, of which few verifiable specimens exist. Like other river sharks, it is stocky in appearance with a broad snout, small eyes, and serrated upper teeth. The Ganges shark is widely considered dangerous by locals in its native region, though claims that this shark is a man-eater remain unproven. Like other types of river sharks, the Ganges shark is rare and faces dangers including overfishing, pollution, and habitat changes due to human habitation along its native waters.

River sharks are freshwater sharks that live in river systems and estuaries. There are several species of river sharks, including the Irrawaddy shark and the speartooth shark. Many species of river shark have not yet been properly described or classified.

Scientists know very little about the Ganges shark. River shark species are, as a general rule, very rare, and few viable scientific specimens of such sharks exist. For much of the 20th century, there were only three Ganges river shark specimens in existence, all of which were collected during the 1800s. Specimens collected in 1996 and 2001 may be Ganges sharks, though the authenticity of either of these specimens remains unproven.

The Ganges river shark has a vicious reputation among those who inhabit its native region. Some experts believe that this is due to confusion with the bull shark, a more aggressive species of river shark that also inhabits the Hooghly River.

Though not much is known about the life cycle or behaviors of the Ganges shark, scientists believe they know what it looks like. This species is considered to have a high, broad head, and generally possesses between 31 and 37 teeth. Upper teeth are serrated, while lower teeth typically remain smooth. These sharks' small eyes and small, widely-spaced nostrils may suggest that they have adapted to a murky, turbulent water habitat. Ganges sharks typically have a short, broad snout, broad dorsal fins, and short lip grooves at the corners of their jaws.

Experts do not yet know how these animals reproduce, but they suspect that, like other sharks, the Ganges shark gives birth to live young. Ganges sharks are normally between 55 and 60 cm (21.65 to 23.6 inches) long at birth. They may grow to a mature length of 200 cm (78.74 inches).

Ganges sharks have been considered critically endangered since 1996. Though they are protected under India's 1972 Wildlife Protection Act, Ganges sharks are still fished for meat and international trade. Human impact may also have damaged the species, which is vulnerable to water pollution as well as the construction of dams and other river structures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ganges Shark?

The Ganges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) is a rare species of requiem shark found in the river systems of the Ganges and Brahmaputra in India and possibly in the rivers of Bangladesh. It is a freshwater shark, often confused with the more common bull shark, which also inhabits the same rivers.

How does the Ganges Shark differ from other sharks?

Unlike many marine sharks, the Ganges shark is adapted to life in freshwater. It has a stocky build, small eyes, and broad, rounded snout which distinguishes it from other sharks. It is also one of the few riverine sharks, with a preference for turbid waters, which is quite unique among shark species.

What is the conservation status of the Ganges Shark?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Ganges shark is critically endangered. Its population has declined drastically due to overfishing, habitat degradation, and pollution. Conservation efforts are challenging due to its rarity and the lack of public awareness about the species.

What do Ganges Sharks eat?

Ganges sharks are carnivorous and their diet likely consists of freshwater fish and possibly other small aquatic animals. Due to the turbidity of their riverine habitat, they may rely on their sense of smell rather than sight to locate prey.

How big can Ganges Sharks get?

Ganges sharks are relatively small compared to many marine sharks, with adults typically reaching about 2 meters (6.6 feet) in length. However, due to the scarcity of sightings and captures, size estimates are based on a limited number of specimens.

Can you find Ganges Sharks in captivity?

Due to their rarity and the specific conditions of their natural habitat, Ganges sharks are not found in captivity. Their critical conservation status and the difficulty in providing appropriate riverine environments make them unsuitable for aquariums.

AllThingsNature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

AllThingsNature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AllThingsNature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.