Hammerhead Shark Facts You Probably Didn’t Know Shark Week 2017
Ahhh, the Hammerhead. One of the most easily recognizable creatures in the sea. Take one look at this amazing fish and you’ll know exactly how it got its name. But, just calling him a Hammerhead is like calling your new Lambo a car. Stick around and find out why.
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10. There Are At Least Nine Species Of Hammerhead Shark.
When you think of a Hammerhead shark, you probably think about just one fish, but the truth is there are at least nine different species of Hammerhead sharks. The Hammerheads are a group of sharks in the family Sphyrnidae, so named for the unusual and distinctive structure of their heads, which are flattened and laterally extended into a “hammer” shape called a cephalofoil.
These Hammerhead sharks can be found all over the world in temperate to tropic waters — in reefs, coastal waters, continental shelves and open oceans and even brackish waters, such as bays and the mouths of rivers.
9. The Great Hammerhead Shark Is The Largest Of The Hammerhead Sharks.
Of all the species of Hammerhead shark, the Great Hammerhead Shark is the largest, with the longest recorded reaching 20 feet long. It can also weigh over 1000 pounds.
Of the nine known species of Hammerheads, the Great Hammerhead is one of three species known to be dangerous to humans. The other two are the Scalloped Hammerhead and the Smooth Hammerhead.
8. The Unique Shape Of The Hammerhead Shark’s Head Allows It To See Better.
Indeed, rather than using each eye independently like most fish do, the Hammerhead shark uses both eyes together to see stereoscopically.
Hammerhead sharks have a 360-degree range of vision. This means they can see all around them, whether in front of them, behind them, above them or below them. So you’re not likely to sneak up on a Hammerhead. Not that you’d want to.
7. Three Species Of Hammerhead Sharks Do Not Have A Hammer-Shaped Head.
Most Hammerhead species have pretty similar-looking heads, except for the Scoophead, the Bonnethead and the Scalloped Bonnethead. The heads of these sharks look more like the end of a shovel than a hammer.
6. Some Hammerhead Sharks Live In Schools.
This family of sharks has an unusual behavior of forming schools or “shivers” to use the proper term which can be up to 500 members. A shiver of scalloped Hammerhead sharks can consist of hundreds of sharks. But, most shivers are comprised of 10-20 sharks.
Each shiver has a social structure that determines hierarchical dominance according to size, age, and sex. Sharks usually stay in shivers during the day and separate at night.
5. Hammerhead Sharks Love To Eat Stingrays.
Stingrays are by no means an easy meal, but some Hammerhead species don’t mind the challenge. Patiently, they swim close to the ocean floor in search of stingrays buried in the sand, and when they find one, they pin it down with their large head before it can sting.
Hammerhead sharks are carnivorous and feed on a variety of prey. Aside from stingrays, Hammerhead sharks also eat fish, squid, octopi, and crustaceans. Sometimes they eat other sharks. The great Hammerhead shark, in particular, is known for eating smaller sharks of its own kind, even its own young when food is hard to find.
4. Female Hammerhead Sharks Give Live Birth.
That’s right. Hammerhead sharks do not lay eggs. Instead, they are viviparous giving birth to live offspring.
Medium-sized Hammerhead sharks have twelve to fifteen pups, while the great Hammerhead shark can have as many as fifty-five. As soon as they are born, the pups can swim and hunt on their own, and swim away quickly before they are eaten by mom.
3. Hammerhead Sharks Can Get A Nice Tan.
Believe it or not, the Hammerhead has the ability to sport a nice tan! They are one of the very few animals who tan from the sun. This happens because Hammerheads are often cruising in shallow water or near the surface for extended periods of time.They don’t need to worry about getting sunburned, though. Their skin doesn’t get damaged in any way, which is why scientists study them to find new ways of preventing skin disease in humans.
2. Hammerhead Sharks Rarely Attack Humans.
Of the Hammerhead sharks, only three species have been known to attack humans — the great Hammerhead shark, the smooth Hammerhead shark and the scalloped Hammerhead shark — but only 17 times in the past 450 years. Also, none of those attacks were serious enough to be fatal.
Most Hammerhead shark species are very small and quite harmless.
1. Hammerheads May Be Able To Follow ‘Highways’ In The Ocean Using The Magnetic Field Of The Sea Floor.
By comparing and analyzing the differential between strength and weakness of these magnetic fields, the Hammerheads can follow a consistent route, routinely tracing the paths of ridges and valleys which radiate outward from the sea floor. Neat!
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