Hammerhead Sharks (Diet, Habitat, Lifespan & Danger For Humans)

Hammerhead Sharks are a order of sharks with the remarkable feature of a snout that resembles a hammer head. The majority of Hammerhead Sharks are not dangerous to humans. They feed on rays, squid, octopus, other sharks and crustaceans and have an avarage lenght of 11.5 feet. The hammer on their head gives them the ability to hunt better.

Are Hammerhead Sharks Dangerous?

Most Hammerhead species will not attack people, but the Great Hammerhead has proven most dangerous to divers. Only a few threats of hammerhead sharks have been recorded. Hammerhead Sharks are in general not dangerous to humans but they are fierce predators that feed on crustaceans, octopuses, squid and small fish. But they will attack in order to defend themselves.

Do Hammerhead Sharks Attack Humans?

Most of the hammerhead sharks are fairly small. Only the Great Hammerhead (with a size of 20 feet and 1,000 pounds of weight) can be dangerous to humans but very few attacks have been recorded. Hammerhead Sharks are therefor considered harmless to humans.

What Do Hammerhead Sharks Eat?

The Hammerhead is an effective hunter and has sharp, serrated teeth to tear at its prey. Its meals of choice include rays, squid, octopus, other sharks and crustaceans. Hammerheads have been witnessed pinning prey like rays down with its hammer and biting it with their sharp, serrated teeth. The Hammerhead Shark is even prepared to eat others of its kind, earning its reputation as a cannibal.

Hammerheads tend to stick to the ocean floor, sometimes hunting in large packs of over 100 sharks during the daylight hours. However, at night, they hunt alone.

A group of Hammerhead Sharks
A group of Hammerhead Sharks

Where Do Hammerhead Sharks Live?

Hammerhead Sharks are found in all the temperate and tropical oceans of the world, favouring shallower areas like coastlines and continental shelves.

How Big Is A Hammerhead Shark?

Hammerheads average approximately 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) in length, although certain specimens measuring up to six metres have been found. The size depends on the species of Hammerhead, of which there are nine.

Are Hammerhead Sharks Endangered?

The highest threat for hammerhead sharks is over fishing. 370 ton of hammerhead sharks legally allowed to be caught every year in Australian waters.

The following Hammerhead Sharks are endangered:

  • Smooth Hammerhead (Vulnerable (IUCN); not listed (EPBC Act 1999));
  • Scalloped Hammerhead (Critically Endangered (IUCN); Conservation Dependent (EPBC Act 1999));
  • Great Hammerhead (Critically Endangered (IUCN); not listed (EPBC Act 1999)).

Why Do Hammerhead Sharks Have Hammerheads?

Its vertebrae display a rather different structure to those of other sharks, and it is believed that this plays a major role in these sharks abilities to manoeuvre as quickly and accurately as they do. The hammer shape of the head provides extra lift, making these sharks some of the most buoyant alive. Their eyes are positioned far apart, allowing for a 36-degree view of their surroundings, as are their nostrils, increasing their range of smell.

How Long Do Hammerhead Sharks Live?

The avarage lifespan of a Hammerhead Shark is 20 – 30 years. One exceptional old Hammerhead Shark was 40 – 50 years old (!) when it was caught. This Hammerhead Shark was a Boca Grande female and was pregnant with 55 pups.

What Does A Hammerhead Shark Look Like?

The Hammerhead Shark is, as its name implies, recognisable by the flattened extension on either side of its head. These extend outwards to give it a rather strange appearance, resembling a hammer. With the exception of its off-white belly, the Hammerhead is gray, with some specimens exhibiting a brownish tinge on its upper side. There are two dorsal fins, the first of which is much larger than the one closer to the tail and is particularly pointy.

Hammerhead Shark
Close-up Of A Hammerhead Shark

Reproduction

Hammerhead Sharks, like humans, give birth to live young that have been sustained in the uterus by a :placenta:, which is actually a yolk sac placenta or pseudoplacenta. This is called viviparity in the case of sharks. A Hammerhead Shark was the first shark known to demonstrate asexual reproduction (where a female produced young without the input of a male).

Can Hammerhead Sharks Suntan?

In addition, they are one of the few animals, along with pigs and human beings, that can suntan as their skin becomes darker with increased exposure to harmful rays when swimming close to the water’s surface.

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