Can Sharks Live in Freshwater?

Sharks are saltwater fish and can not live in freshwater except few species. They need the ocean to survive because they get most of their nutrients from the salt water. Sharks also need a lot of space.

The ocean is a big place and there is plenty of space for them to swim around. Freshwater is not as salty as the ocean and sharks would not be able to get the food and nutrients they need to survive in freshwater.

Can Sharks Live in Freshwater

Can Sharks Live in Freshwater

Many believe sharks only inhabit marine waters, though a few species of shark can be found in freshwater. As individuals make new discoveries, researchers believe there are a lot of undiscovered freshwater sharks undiscovered in the world off the coast of Asia and Europe.

Of the approximately 43 species of sharks, most can’t survive in freshwater for significant durations. The reason is they do not possess the innate capacity for freshwater climates.

One’s body is designed to do well in turbid water. Brackish water that is slightly saline is diffused in sharks’ bodies.

At this very moment, the shark’s body balances any deficiencies in salinity. If the water lacks salinity, the shark will likely take in too much.

This can cause the realization that their abilities are not as sharp, as if he were a fish. As a consequence, the shark will die, e.g. due to bloating.

In contrast to saltwater species, River Sharks are truly the exception because they are extremely accustomed to living in the water. While freshwater Dolphins have denser and fattier livers in order to keep them afloat and provide more energy, River Sharks have stockier bodies than Ocean Sharks thanks to holding more fat.

They are also slower hunters and be able to compensate by being more aggressive.

In addition to the bull shark, there are at least five species of the genus Glyphis that inhabit freshwater rivers in South and Southeast Asia and Australia, but they are extremely rare as a result of habitat degradation and little is known about them.

These are the only freshwater sharks that have been discovered. Glyphis, which consists of the Ganges shark, the northern river shark, and the speartooth shark, all inhabit both freshwater and saltwater, whereas bull sharks dwell chiefly in seawater.

Like a freshwater fish, the bull shark can osmoregulate, enabling it to continue living in freshwater.


  2. Gajic, A. Contribution to the knowledge of sharks that inhabit river ecosystems and other freshwater areas.