Great Hammerhead Shark - Diet, Habitat and Characteristics

Great hammerhead shark: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The sphyrnids correspond to a family of chondrichthyes or...

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

The sphyrnids correspond to a family of chondrichthyans or cartilaginous fish called hammerhead sharks or horned sharks. One of the species that represents this group is the Great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran), characterized by the typical T-shaped head of these animals. Unlike other horns, this one in particular can be dangerous to humans, so it is important to maintain precautionary measures in the seas it is found in.

Unfortunately, this shark is in danger of extinction due to the anthropogenic pressure that has been generated on it. We invite you to continue reading this PlanetAnimal file in order to learn all about the characteristics of the Great hammerhead shark.


  • Africa
  • America
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Oceania

Characteristics of the Great Hammerhead

This is a large shark that usually reaches 4m in length, but individuals up to 6m have been seen. In terms of weight, it usually exceeds 400 kg. It has, like many species of sharks, a counter-coloration, with an intense olive or brownish gray dorsal area and a white ventral area. As mentioned, its peculiar head extends considerably to the sides, forming a margin which in juveniles is rounded but in adults is almost straight.

To continue with the features of the great hammerhead shark, the eyes and nostrils are located at the ends of the head, allowing it to observe virtually anything around it, even upside down. just turn your head slightly.The teeth of the great hammerhead shark are triangular and serrated; the upper teeth tend to be angled, while the lower teeth are more straight.

As for the fins, the first dorsal is high, curved and pointed, the second dorsal is large, just like the pelvic ones, but the latter are concave in shape, and the caudal fin is characterized by its strong asymmetry.

Where does the Great hammerhead shark live? - Habitat

It has a circumglobal distribution, moving through warm, tropical seas around the world. The Great Hammerhead has a pelagic, coastal and semi-oceanic habitat, so it moves easily between coastal waters and fairly remote areas, reaching depths of around 300 meters.

The populations of this shark in the Indian, Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans have decreased significantly. However, recently in the Northeast Atlantic it seems to be experiencing some growth.As for the Pacific Ocean, precise data on its distribution are lacking. Estimates indicate the giant hammerhead shark's global population has declined to between 50-62% of its natural habitats

Habits of the Great Hammerhead Shark

Despite its vast range, some aspects of this animal's behavior are still unknown. This type of shark generally has solitary habits, both for the migratory movements that it commonly performs and for the capture of its prey. It is a fairly mobile species, moving between coastal areas and more oceanic waters. During the summer season, it is common to see it moving towards more northern regions.

The monitoring of a few individuals shows that this shark is able to travel 1,200 km in 62 days, which is a long distance in a short time. This type of behavior indicates that the species must move to international areas, and it has also been shown to stop at certain places during their migration.

Great Hammerhead Shark Feeding

It is a carnivorous species that actively hunts. Its counter-coloration allows it to camouflage itself, since seen from above it merges with the dark background, whereas if observed from below it is not easily distinguished by the shine of the water caused by the light. Another great advantage of the giant hammerhead shark is its surprising sense of smell, capable of detecting 1 drop of blood more than 1 kilometer away, so that if there is an injured animal within this perimeter, this shark will be able to detect it.

Their diet is mainly based on various species of rays, groupers and marine catfish. Its diet also includes bony fish, other sharks, crabs, lobsters, and squids.

Reproduction of the Great hammerhead shark

Males of the giant hammerhead shark reach maturity when they measure between 2.25 and 2.69m, while females reach maturity between 2.10 and 3m in length.The type of reproduction is viviparous, producing a number of young between 6 and 42. They reproduce approximately every two years, with a gestation period of 11 months, although it can extend a little more.

The young at birth measure between 50 and 70 cm and are completely independent. This event usually occurs between late spring and early summer.

Conservation status of giant hammerhead sharks

The giant hammerhead shark is a species caught both intentionally and accidentally. It is traded primarily for the use of its fins, but also for consumption of its meat, liver oil, skin, cartilage, and even jawbones. All of this pressure has led to this animal being declared critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Among the existing conservation measures we find international actions for the protection of the species, but in reality they have not been effective and, in general, have failed.Likewise, certain controls have been established that limit the number of authorized captures, in addition to being listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), so that its marketing is regulated. In addition, some countries prohibit the sale of the Great hammerhead shark.

Great Hammerhead Shark Photos

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!