Kakadu National Park

Saturday 12 October 2019

Crocodiles aren’t Kakadu’s only sharp-toothed aquatic animals – our estuaries also host some of the world’s rarest sharks.

Some of Kakadu’s sharks (such as the bull shark) can be found in waters all over the globe. But two extremely endangered species call Kakadu home: the speartooth shark and the northern river shark.

These very special animals are only found in a few spots in northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea. There are probably only about 250 adults of each species left in Australia.

Where to see it

Juvenile speartooth and northern river sharks are found in the three Alligator Rivers. However, their low numbers mean you are unlikely to see them in the wild.


Very little is known about these sharks or their behaviours.

Northern river sharks have been found in rivers, estuarine, coastal and marine waters.

The occurrence and habitat of mature speartooth sharks remain a mystery because no one has ever seen an adult!


The Marine Biodiversity Hub of the National Environmental Science Program is partnering with Indigenous communities to understand these rare sharks and the best ways to protect them.

The research informs the Australian Government’s multispecies recovery plan, which includes actions to help boost the numbers of these endangered sharks.

Other names

  • Scientific names: Glyphis glyphis (speartooth shark) and Glyphis garriki (northern river shark)