Description: The unusual Hammerhead Shark is aptly named. All nine known species of Hammerhead Sharks have flattened heads with projections that extend from each side in the manner of a hammer. It is thought that the hammerhead’s oddly shaped head helps it to more efficiently detect miniscule electrical signals emitted by prey sources, and to pick up their scents better. Like all sharks, Hammerheads have special sensory pores called ampullae of Lorenzini that enable them to pick up electrical signals from prey. The Hammerhead Shark can detect electrical signals as weak as one half billionth of a volt! Some scientists have classified this ability as a sixth sense.
The Hammerhead Shark may measure up to twelve feet in length and weigh between 500-1,000 pounds. There are nine species of Hammerhead Sharks, with three considered dangerous to humans.
Diet: The Hammerhead Shark preys upon fish, squid, octopi, rays, and crustaceans. Great White Sharks sometimes prey upon hammerheads.
Range/Habitat: Hammerhead Sharks are usually found in warmer waters along coastlines or the continental shelves. They usually stay in shallow, tropical waters, but can be found at depths of 250 feet.
Reproduction: The male Hammerhead Shark will attack the female until she submits to mating. Upon fertilization, the embryos develop inside the female, and are nourished through her umbilical cord. After 10 to 12 month, the female gives birth to between 20 and 40 pups (occasionally up to 55). Once the pups are born, they are abandoned by the parents and are left to fend for themselves. In a landmark discovery made in 2007, scientists revealed that Hammerhead Sharks could actually reproduce asexually! In other words, the female can fertilize her own eggs, without a male, and give birth. This process, known as parthenogenesis, is thought to be extremely rare in the wild.