Authored by Rodney Southern in Nature and Wildlife
Published on 07-24-2009
The great hammerhead shark is the largest and fiercest member of the hammerhead family. This shark is one of the largest sharks in the world growing up to twenty feet. Any shark this size is a danger to humans, and the great hammerhead is no exception. Still, given the large size and fearsome appearance, the great hammerhead is not a common shark attack species. They are known for largely minding their own business, unless provoked. There certainly is the occasional unprovoked attack by the great hammerhead, but it is the exception rather than the rule.
The great hammerhead has all the features you would expect of the species, only in super size. They have the wide hammer-like head with the eyes on either end of the hammer. They have the huge dorsal fin that sits feet above the water when the hammerhead goes near the surface. The great hammerhead is a very intimidating shark when it is sighted slicing through the water. They have one of the tallest dorsal fins in the shark world.
Though the great hammerhead is known to attack human beings, they are not a typical food source in the least. The great hammerhead loves eating sting rays. They have special sensors in that hammer that picks up on electrical impulses that prey items send out into the water. They will often scour the bottom of the ocean floor, moving their heads back and forth searching out the sting rays. Sting rays often bury themselves under the sandy ocean floor, yet the great hammerhead can still locate and kill them.
Another unique aspect to hammerhead sharks is increased eyesight. Though their vision is comparable to other shark species, the hammerhead has the advantage of having their eyes on either end of the hammer. This gives them a wider field of sight and phenomenal vision to the right and left. This aids the great hammerhead in finding food, as well as fending off potential or perceived enemies.
The great hammerhead likes cooler waters and searches them out incessantly. They can often be found in huge “schools” of hammerheads going out in search of cool waters all over the world. The great hammerhead is found both out to sea and in close to the shore. They will follow the food sources and always seek waters that are on the cooler side.
The great hammerhead grows to massive proportions, and can exceed 20 feet in length. They sometimes weigh in excess of 1000 pounds. They are olive to gray in color on top, and usually a creme or off white color on the underside of their massive frames. As stated before, they have a huge dorsal fin and the other fins are similarly large. The hammerhead shark is also equipped with serrated triangle shaped teeth that are ideal for shredding and slicing.
The great hammerhead is generally considered to be the most dangerous of the nine species of hammerhead. This is largely due to the huge size of the shark, but it is also due to the aggression. Most hammerhead species are relatively harmless, and much smaller than the great hammerhead. This supreme ocean predator is one to respect and keep your distance from to be sure.