Pack of 20 bull sharks spotted on the prowl in heart of Australian city, video shows

Screengrabs from Facebook post by Paulo Baleeiro.

An Australian man recently spotted a large group of bull sharks swimming in a river that runs through the heart of Brisbane.

Paulo Baleeiro had an ideal view of the gathering, looking down on the Brisbane River from the balcony of his high-rise apartment, video shows. The water is murky, but the distinct shapes of the predators below stick out in the greenish-brown river — some gathered together, others lazily swimming solo a few yards away.

In total, Baleeiro says he counted “around 20” of the sharks, he said in a social media post.

“I was surprised, and it took me a while to realize it was a pack of bull sharks,” Baleeiro told Yahoo News Australia, adding he’d never seen a shark in the Brisbane River before the Jan. 29 sighting, much less a congregation of them.

“Fortunately, I didn’t see people with their dogs by that time of the day (midday) on the other side of the river, where some make their dogs chase balls in the water. And sometimes I see people swimming as well. Now imagine the disaster,” Baleeiro, a biologist studying at the University of Queensland, told the outlet.

While it’s unusual to see so many sharks in the river, particularly with such clarity, the animals are around much more often than people realize, Bonnie Holmes, a shark ecologist at the University of the Sunshine Coast, told the ABC.

“Given that people live in high-rises now and everyone’s got a phone or a camera, we’re capturing more of these images ... to show people that we do share our waterways and our local areas with these marvelous creatures,” Holmes said.

“Quite often you just won’t know that they’re there and they won’t bother you,” she added. ”It’s very rare for for an interaction to actually occur.”

As the only shark species that can survive in fresh water, bull sharks sometimes swim into rivers and waterways where someone might not expect to find them, experts say. Their preference for shallow waters, coupled with their generally aggressive attitude, makes them the most dangerous shark to humans.

Sharks have a tendency to inspire fear — and should be treated with the respect due to any apex predator — but unprovoked attacks are rare, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, which tracks shark bite incidents and attacks across the world.

In 2021, there were 73 unprovoked attacks, and Australia accounted for 12 of them. The majority of incidents occurred in the United States, with 47 unprovoked bites.

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