Great Hammerhead Shark

Sphyrna mokarran

Great Hammerhead Shark
DCL

OverviewGreat hammerhead sharks look like oceanic bulldozers, with their large mouths and strange hydrofoil-like heads that end with bulbous eyes on either side of the “hammer” tips. The unique head is actually an evolutionary adaptation that allows for superior water navigation.

The largest of all hammerheads, weighing up to 1,012 pounds, they may be found close to the surface inshore as well as offshore to about 262 feet. Nomadic sharks, the great hammerheads move throughout their very large range in response to rising or falling water temperatures.

The species favors coral reefs, which can supply food as well as shelter although, aside from humans, this impressively large denizen of the deep has few enemies.

Feeding Habits — The great hammerhead usually feeds on a variety of bony fishes. It may also consume other (usually smaller) sharks, crabs, skates and squid. Perhaps its most unusual prey is the stingray. Rays can be fast in the water and they have their own deadly defense with their poisonous tail-like barb. Those are little deterrence to the great hammerhead, which will relentlessly pursue stingrays over distances.

Aggression by hammerheads against humans is uncommon, but not unknown. Swimmers, divers, surfers and other water enthusiasts should respect the space of this toothsome fish when it is nearby.

Cool Fact — Great hammerheads travel lengthy distances, with some populations off the coasts of Florida and China going toward the polar regions during summer.

Common Max Depth — 262 feet

MORE SHARKS: Great White Shark | Tiger Shark | Smooth Hammerhead Shark | ALL SHARKS

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