Wildlife Fact Sheets

Hammerhead Shark

Hammerhead Shark

Hammerhead Shark


  • Life Span
    I can live 20-30 years.
  • Habitat
    I’m all over the place! I go back and forth from the shoreline out to deep waters offshore.
  • Range
    You can find me in temperate and tropical waters around the world.
  • Preferred Food
    I am an active hunter, and like fish such as grouper, catfish and other sharks and invertebrates like squid, crabs and lobsters.


I’m one of the most recognizable sharks in the sea! No one has a head quite like mine, which is where I got my name (no surprise there). I have very wide-set eyes, which give me a better field of vision than other sharks. Combined with my ampullae of Lorenzini, electoreceptors that are sensory organs found in sharks, rays and a few other fish, I can easily detect my prey. These organs are like a sixth sense—I can find the electrical fields of prey species, even when they’re buried under the sand.

There are nine species of hammerhead shark, most of which are generally pretty small in size. The biggest of my species is the great hammerhead, which can grow up to 20 feet long!

Did You Know?

I have a special muscle that lets them move my head up and down. Just another reason my distinctive head makes me one of a kind!

Status and Conservation

I like to hang out in groups, especially during the summer when huge numbers of us migrate to cooler waters. I also take great pride in my appearance, especially my fins. Like my head, they’re a bit unusual—my dorsal fin is very tall and shaped like a sickle.

Unfortunately, humans like my fins, too. Many of us have been killed for our fins to be used in shark fin soup, as well as for our liver oil for vitamins. Sometimes people just slice off the fins and dump us back into the ocean, where we bleed to death. Plus, we’re at risk for being caught as bycatch when fishermen catch us while we’re looking for food. Because of these threats, many of us are threatened or near threatened and some species, like the great hammerhead and scalloped hammerhead, are endangered.

Fast Facts


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