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Hammerhead shark

Scientific Name - Sphyrnidae Sphyrna

The Great Hammerhead is a solitary species, rarely seen with other sharks. Scalloped and Smooth Hammerheads on the other hand form small and large schools. Scalloped Hammerhead sharks can often have hundreds of sharks in one school. All Hammerhead sharks migrate to warmer waters in the winter. Other sharks have been known to avoid Great hammerheads and schools Scalloped hammerheads out of fear of being eaten. Hammerheads often attack and eat other sharks.

Scientific Classification

  • Order: Carcharhiniformes
  • Family: Sphyrnidae
  • Genus: Sphyrna
  • Species 1: lewini = Scalloped hammerhead
  • Species 2: mokarran = Great hammerhead
  • Species 3: zygaena = Smooth hammerhead
  • Scientific Name: Sphyrnidae Sphyrna

Life Expectancy


Dangerous to Man?

Three species of hammerhead shark are considered to be dangerous to man; the great hammerhead shark, the scalloped hammerhead shark and the smooth hammerhead shark.Hammerheads are considered potentially dangerous. According to the International Shark Attack File, there have been 21 unprovoked attacks with 2 resulting in fatalities for all species of the genus Sphyrna. Relatively few attacks have been attributed to this species due to its common occurrence in temperate rather than tropical waters where humans are more likely to enter the water.

Conservation Status

Currently, the great hammerhead is considered to be "Endangered" throughout its range by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). In the US, hammerhead sharks are grouped with large coastal species, a group that biologist consider to be most vulnerable to overfishing.


The nine recorded species of hammerhead shark vary from 2m to 6m long.


Female hammerhead sharks will typically give birth to between fifteen and thirty live pups after a pregnancy of roughly eight to ten months. Young hammerhead sharks are comparatively slow developers.


A typical hammerhead shark will eat fish such as herring, mackerels and sardines. Occasionally invertebrates such as octopuses will form part of their diet. Large scalloped hammerhead sharks may eat smaller members of the shark family.

Other Names

squat-headed hammerhead shark


A hammerhead shark will cruise at a speed of about 15mph.


The hammerhead shark can reach a weight of up to 160kg


The population is declining although the exact figures are unknown.