Heads Up for Hammerhead Sharks

by Khadijah Rahim

The great hammerhead shark is the largest of the hammerhead species. Growing to as long as 20 feet with the largest weighing in at half a ton, these creatures are now critically endangered. 


Perhaps the most intriguing of the hammerhead species, the great hammerhead shark has all the qualities to make them eye-catching. Their hammer-shaped heads help them detect, follow, and capture prey. Often hunting their favorite meal, stingrays, great hammerheads have even been found with ray barbs sticking into their mouths indicating they are immune to the venom. Due to their large frame, these sharks aren’t hunted by other sharks but are known to be cannibalistic, eating their own species of need. Because of this, they often glide the ocean alone between depths of 300 to 900 feet. Reaching maturity the youngest of the hammerhead species, between 5 to 9 years, females have been known to birth between 6 to 42 pups every two years!


So how is it that despite their huge frame and reproduction rates that the great hammerhead shark is critically endangered? Humans are the number one threat to these majestic creatures. Vulnerable to overfishing, they are caught incidentally and commercially targeted for their valuable fins. Great hammerheads are particularly threatened by the global shark fin trade because of the large size of their fins. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of great hammerheads die once they are captured by targets. This high mortality rate, along with the shark’s coastal habitat and highly valued fin, makes the great hammerhead shark endangered with extinction. If a female hammerhead faces permanent damage or death, that can be a loss of 21 great hammerheads in a year – from a single female shark!


Wanna help? Take Instant Action in 3 simple steps!

1.) Don’t support sport fishing and the hunting of sharks. Because of this, we can lose these jaw-dropping creatures.

2.) Use reputable organizations to engage in shark diving. This can help local conservation efforts while allowing you to witness the beauty of these creatures.

3.) As always, continue to educate yourself and pass on this valuable knowledge to keep these great creatures prospering!