Bull Shark vs Great White – What’s the Difference?

Great white and bull shark are both very fierce predators. But have distinct differences, the first being – great whites are larger.

In this article, you’ll learn more interesting differences in this bull shark vs. great white shark comparison, so keep reading! 

Bull Shark vs. Great White Comparison Table

Bull and great white sharks are intriguing ocean creatures because of their size, bite force, and fierce nature. These differences will help you understand more about these sharks if you’re a shark fan.

So, the next time you’re out in the water, you’ll know how to distinguish a great white from a bull shark.

Great White SharkBull Shark
Scientific NameCarcharodon carchariasCarcharhinus leucas
Also known as White death, great white, white pointerRiver shark, freshwater whaler 
Habitat Warm waters of all major oceans Shallow fresh and salty waters in oceans or rivers 
Average Size and Weight11 to 20 ft, 1,400 to 5,000 lbs7 to 11 feet, 200 to 500 lbs 
DietCarcasses, seals, sea lions, fish, rays, turtles Fish, mollusks, crustaceans, other sharks 
Hunting Behavior Hunts in groups (or in a shiver)Solitary hunters 
Physical FeaturesLarge fins, massive jaw, 6-inch coarsely serrated teeth, sharp and conical snoutBroad, triangular dorsal fins, large, angular pectoral fins
Bite Force 4,000psi1,350psi


Bull sharks thrive in temperate and tropical waters on the South American west coast and the Caribbean. Typically, they prefer shallow brackish waters but can travel to rivers to find food. 

Unlike other species of sharks, bull sharks are the only ones that stay submerged in freshwater for long periods. 

On the flip side, great white sharks roam around warm waters and are easily identifiable as they swim openly in the ocean. Besides, great white sharks love the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean. 

Size and Weight 

photo of a great white shark
Great White

Bull shark females are larger than males. They grow up to 11 feet and weigh about 500 lbs. However, male bull sharks don’t grow longer than 7 feet and weigh about 200 lbs.

Since bull sharks leave their pups to care for themselves, they come into the world with features fully intact. These pups are typically 4 feet long. 

Contrastingly, in this bull shark vs. great white shark analogy, the great white is well-known as the largest predatory shark. A mature great white can weigh up to 5,000 lbs at 20 feet

On average, great whites weigh between 1,500 to 4,000 lbs. Moreover, mature male great white sharks measure 11 to 13 feet, while females range between 15 to 16 feet. 

Fun Fact: At birth, a newborn great white is only 5 feet long. 


Sharks are apex predators. They play an essential ecological role in the ecosystem. As such, the great white shark vs. bull shark battle gets more interesting regarding their diet. 

A study reveals that mature great white sharks feed on dead sea animals. However, these sharks don’t start this habit while young. 

Great whites begin life by feeding on rays, fish, and other sharks. Once they start maturing, they switch to marine animals, like seals, and hunt for large animal carcasses, like whales. They also feed on sea turtles and otters on occasion. 

On the contrary, bull sharks don’t eat dead animals. Instead, they prefer to feed on fish, mollusks, crustaceans, dolphins, and other sharks.

Physical Features 

FeaturesGreat WhiteBull Shark
Dorsal and pectoral finsFirst dorsal fin is broad and triangular, small 2nd dorsal fin, and moderately long pectoral fins with bluntly pointed tipsBroad and triangular dorsal fins, angular and large pectoral fins 
Jaw17 feet 11 feet
TeethCoarsely serrated, large, sharp, six inches Sharp, triangular, needle-like, one-inch 
SnoutSharp and conical Blunt and short 

You can easily identify a bull shark through its color. 

Bull sharks are pale to dark gray on the top. The color then fades to white on the underside. Moreover, bull sharks have blunt, short snouts. Their jaws are powerful, with a bite force of 1,350psi.

Bull sharks also have sharp, triangular, needle-like one-inch teeth. However, despite the minimum teeth length, they are excellent at tearing and biting into their prey. 

That’s not all in this great white shark vs. bull shark battle. 

photo of a bull shark swimming in the bottom of the ocean
Bull Shark

Bull sharks also have large, broad, and triangular first dorsal fins. However, their second dorsal fins are much smaller. In addition, the bull shark’s pectoral fins are angular and prominent. 

On the flip side, great white sharks are bulkier, have a sharp conical snout, and have a powerful crescent-shaped tail. Furthermore, the great white’s pectoral and dorsal fins are large.

Although the large size is one way to identify a great white, the color helps significantly. Their backs and sides are brown, gray, or dark blue, but the belly is whitish. 

The great white shark has a massive jaw with a 4,000psi bite force. That aside, the coarsely serrated, large, sharp, six-inch teeth help cut through flesh and puncture bones.

Hunting Behavior 

Bull sharks are typically solitary hunters. However, they hunt in pairs once in a while. 

On the other hand, great white sharks are better known as social foragers. They hunt and move in groups and sneak up on prey in shoals, also known as schools. They also spend long periods hanging out around their prey. However, once they catch their prey, they tear up the flesh and fight for the largest chunk.

Usually, that leaves one or more sharks hurt. That proves how fierce great whites are when talking about the bull shark vs. great white shark. 

Bull Shark vs. Great White: The Final Bite 

Hopefully, this bull shark vs. great white shark comparison gave you a better idea about these fierce predators. They might look similar, but they are uniquely different in terms of physical appearance, feeding habits, and social behavior.

Remember to leave a comment below if you’re interested in learning more about intriguing sharks like the blacktip shark and sand tiger shark!