Is there such thing as a river shark? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 19

Episode 19 podcast

You Asked, We Answered!

Transcript of the podcast

Hello! I am Shane Freeman, I am a sophomore at Penn State Brandywine and I am here to answer the longing question, “is there such a thing as a river shark?” A lot of people do not know much about sharks, except that they are dangerous to humans and most people are afraid of them. Many people believe that sharks are only found in salt water, however, this is not always the case. There is one type of shark that lives not only in salt water, but can also live in fresh water. This type of shark is called the bull shark. The bull shark is related to the tiger and great white shark. Bull sharks are known to be very aggressive animals and are considered to be the most dangerous sharks in the world.  Bull sharks have thick bodies and are medium sized. These sharks are fast and capable of watching their prey quickly. They prey on almost anything that moves in the ocean or river. [4] So next time you’re in the water keep on the look out for bull sharks!

Another type of shark is the speartooth shark, which is also known as the “river shark” and this shark is far less dangerous than the bull shark. However, this shark is quite rarely seen, so if you ever get the chance to see one, take a picture! The last place this type of shark was located in Papua New Guinea in the 1970’s.  This shark is small with small eyes and are found in large rivers, which makes it hard for them to be spotted.  However, these sharks are in bad locations which causes there to be a threat against their species due to being threated by overfishing. [3]

Now let’s talk about a shark that lives in rivers and is endangered. The Northern River shark is one of the rarest species in the world. This shark is known to live in Papua New Guinea, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. This shark was discovered in Australia in 1986. This shark is not very big and has unusually small eyes and they are not counted on to find prey. They are endangered because there are only 36 types of this shark that were found. [2]

Since there are a lot of river sharks out there you may be asking yourself how will I be able to see one? For one, you will need to travel around the world to see most of these river sharks because most of them, if not all of them, are not known for living in the United States. The most common one we see in our rivers is the bull shark. A lot of these bull shark’s fisherman has been catching have been pretty big sharks. For instance, there was an 8-foot bull shark that was caught in the Potomac River in Maryland. [1] There are sharks that you are allowed to fish for and there are some you are not. The ones you are not allowed to fish for are the ones that are endangered. Granted you cannot stop one from biting your bait if your fishing. If one does however, you must put them back into the river. Before you do that I would take a picture of the shark because they are cool to see and you don’t get to see something that big everyday. Personally I think you should respect the shark and put them back and let them live regardless if they are endangered or not.

I want to thank you for listening to my podcast today. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you learned a little bit more about sharks today and that there is such a thing as a river shark. Thank you and have a great day!

(This audio file was recorded by Shane Freeman, undergraduate student at Penn State Brandywine, on March 28, 2016. References in attached transcript.)