Great Hammerhead

Great Hammerhead Sphyrna mokarran

Type of Animal:
Hammerhead Shark

Tropical/subtropical/temperate waters, preferring warmer temps: Coastal areas, open ocean, continental shelves, coastlines, semi-oceanic areas, lagoons to 262 ft deep, island terraces, deep water near land, coral reefs, coastal-pelagic areas, found in depths as deep as 984 ft deep, estuaries, intertidal waters, rocky reefs, kelp forest, sandy plains

In W Atlantic from N Carolina to Uruguay (including Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean), E Atlantic from Morocco to Angola, Mediterranean through Red Sea & rims of Indian Ocean into W Pacific as far north as S Japan, also found around New Caledonia & French Polynesia as well as Australia, in E Pacific occurs from S Baja California to Peru

Largest hammerhead species, tall sickle shape first dorsal fin, streamlined body, dark brown to light gray to olive on top, white underside

Rays, octopus, squid, crabs, lobsters, other sharks (including smaller members of own species), skates, tarpon, sardines, sea catfish, grunts, jacks, toadfish, porgies, groupers, flatfishes, boxfish, porcupinefish, herring, guitarfish, pinnipeds

Status in Wild:

Shark finning bans in parts of range, research on migration sites

Solitary or small schools
Additional Info:

Male: 110-520 lbs
Female: 90-1000 lbs
11 months 

Life Span:
20-30 years

Body Length:
Male: 7.55-9.84 ft
Female: 8.2-17 ft
Young: 4 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 3.775-4.92 ft
Female: 4.1-8.5 ft
Young: 2 ft

Main predators of adults are killer whales/orcas, tiger sharks, & great whites. Many larger sharks (including adults of own species) prey on young/juveniles/even sub-adults.
These sharks viviparous w/ fertilized eggs hatching while still in uterus. This results in live birth.
Endangered due to low reproductive rate (many females only reproduce every other year), overfishing for fins/meat/liver oil/hide, accidental bycatch, entanglement in nets, & water pollution.
While slow breeders, females can have litters of 10-55 pups.
Tend to be migratory.
Sexually mature at 5-9 years old.
To catch stingrays, they’ll use side of hammer shape head to pin them down.
Typically hunt at dawn & dusk.

Fun Fact(s):
Rare in captivity due to large size & risk of injuring hammer-shaped head.
These sharks potentially dangerous due to large size & sharp teeth. However, they’re not usually aggressive towards humans but can be inquisitive.
Highly likely immune to stingray & catfish venom. Barbs have been seen sticking out of their mouths.

1 thought on “Great Hammerhead


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