Hammerhead shark

Species profile

Name: hammerhead sharks are named after the unusual shape of their heads. The group includes nine species: bonnethead, Carolina hammerhead, great hammerhead, scalloped bonnethead, scalloped hammerhead, scoophead, smalleye hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, and winghead shark.

Appearance: hammerheads are usually light gray with a greenish tint. They have white stomachs which allows them to blend into the ocean when viewed from below. There are many theories about the reason for the unusual shape of their heads. These include improving eyesight, helping to detect prey, increasing manoeuvrability, and manipulating prey.

Size: the scalloped bonnethead is the smallest species reaching around 0.9 metres long. The great hammerhead is the largest and can reach up to 6.1 metres.

Diet: they eat a large range of prey including fish, squid, stingrays, octopus, crustaceans, and other sharks. The great hammerhead even eats other hammerheads. By contrast, bonnetheads sometimes feed on seagrass – the only known case of an omnivorous shark!

Did you know:  sharks are considered to be gods of the sea in Hawaiian culture. They are said to protect humans and clean-up excessive ocean life. Hawaiian children who are born with the hammerhead as an animal sign are believed to be warriors and are meant to sail the oceans.

Location: hammerheads are found in tropical waters worldwide. Unlike most sharks they gather in large schools during the day. These schools can be found near Malpelo Island, Colombia and Cocos Island, Costa Rica. As well as the Galapagos Islands and Molokai in Hawaii.

Best places to see hammerhead SHArks

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see hammerhead sharks are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Galapagos Islands
very high
very good

Photo credit: Kris-Mikael Krister, under a Creative Commons license from Flickr

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