Fun Smooth Hammerhead Shark Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Smooth Hammerhead Shark Facts For Kids

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The smooth hammerhead shark is a species that is found in the temperate waters of oceans all over the world. It is named for the smooth and long hammer shape (cephalofoil) of the head. This shark is found in the western Atlantic, eastern Atlantic, and Indo-Pacific Oceans, in the waters of over 100 countries. The smooth hammerhead shark is rarely found in tropical waters, mostly inhabiting estuaries, inshore waters, or continental shelves. The smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) has mostly brown and white coloration. Smooth hammerhead sharks migrate towards poles in the summer and return closer to the equator in the winter. They are sometimes seen with their fins over the surface since they live in relatively shallow waters. Despite being a widespread species, smooth hammerheads are caught intentionally and as bycatch in many places, leading to a significant decline in their numbers. They are hence classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

For more relatable content, check out these Caribbean reef shark facts and horn shark facts for kids.

Fun Smooth Hammerhead Shark Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?

20-50 pups

How much do they weigh?

Up to 880 lb (400 kg)

How long are they?

8-11.5 ft (2.4-3.5 m), maximum of 16.4 ft (5 m)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown and white

Skin Type

Dermal denticles

What were their main threats?

Humans, Killer Whales, Dusky Sharks

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them?

Warm Temperate Ocean Waters, Tropical Marine Waters, Inshore And Coastal Waters, Bays, Estuaries, Continental Shelf, Freshwater Habitats, And Ocean Islands











Smooth Hammerhead Shark Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a smooth hammerhead shark?

The smooth hammerhead shark is a fish.

What class of animal does a smooth hammerhead shark belong to?

The smooth hammerhead shark belongs to the Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish) class of animals.

How many smooth hammerhead sharks are there in the world?

The total number of smooth hammerhead sharks currently present worldwide is unknown since they are spread over a global range. Their population trends have been declining recently, giving them the conservation status of Vulnerable.

Where does a smooth hammerhead shark live?

The smooth hammerhead shark species is basically found all over the world in temperate ocean waters.

In the western Atlantic Ocean, smooth hammerhead sharks occur in marine water ranging from the Virgin Islands to Canada, and Argentina to Brazil. In the eastern Atlantic oOcean, they range from Côte d'Ivoire to the British Isles and the Mediterranean. In the Indo-Pacific Ocean waters, they are seen from Sri Lanka to South Africa, and Vietnam to southern Siberian. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, they are seen from Chile to California. Smooth hammerhead sharks are also seen in marine waters near southern Australia, Hawaii, and New Zealand. Smooth hammerhead sharks are found in the waters of more than 100 countries.

What is a smooth hammerhead shark's habitat?

Smooth hammerhead sharks live in the temperate and warm waters of the oceans. They are rarely found in tropical waters. These fish prefer inshore waters of estuaries and bays but are also seen around islands and over continental shelves in the coastal ocean waters. Smooth hammerheads have also been observed going into freshwater habitats like Florida's Indian River.

Smooth hammerheads are migratory within their range. In summer, they migrate towards water closer to the poles to keep cool and go back to the habitats closer to the equator once winter comes around.

Smooth hammerhead sharks are usually seen at depths of 66 ft (20.1 m) but can exist anywhere between 3.3-660 ft (1-201.2 m).

Who does the smooth hammerhead shark live with?

The adults of the smooth hammerhead shark species tend to live by themselves or in small groups. They can congregate in great numbers while undergoing yearly migrations. Schools of several hundred to several thousand juvenile smooth hammerhead sharks have also been observed near South Africa and California.

How long does a smooth hammerhead shark live?

Smooth hammerhead sharks live for 20 years or longer.

How do they reproduce?

The smooth hammerhead shark is a viviparous species, meaning the eggs hatch inside of the body and live pups are born. The embryos are nourished via the yolk sac's placental connection. Mating and birthing both happen during spring, and the females are able to ovulate after birth. The number of pups born is anywhere between 20-50. The gestation period lasts for 10-11 months. At the time of birth, pups are 20-24 in (50.8-61 cm) long.

The birth of pups takes place in coastal shallow nurseries like the one in North Carolina's Bulls Bay. Female sharks are known to reach maturity when they are 8.9 ft (2.7 m) long and the male sharks become mature when they are 6.9-8.2 ft (2.1-2.5 m).

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the smooth hammerhead shark species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature is Vulnerable.

Smooth Hammerhead Shark  Fun Facts 

What does the smooth hammerhead shark look like?

The smooth hammerhead shark is the second-biggest hammerhead shark after the large hammerhead or great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran). The cephalofoil or the 'hammer' has a front margin that is curved and does not have a center indentation. The cephalofoil is short and wide and measures a length that is 26-20% of the body length. The nostrils of the smooth hammerhead are near the caphalofoil's end. There are long grooves that run towards the cephalofoil's center. The teeth of the smooth hammerhead shark are triangular and they have slightly serrated to smooth edges. There are 25-30 rows of teeth in the lower part of the jaw and 26-32 in the upper one.

The body of the smooth hammerhead shark is streamlined and there is no dorsal ridge amidst the dorsal fins. The initial dorsal fin is somewhat tall and has a sickle shape and a rounded tip. The pelvic and pectoral fins are not sickle-shaped but have almost straight margins. The second dorsal fin is smaller than the anal fin. The anal fin has an elongated and free rear tip as well as a capable notch in the hind margin. The dermal denticles on the outer body are densely packed and each of them has five to seven horizontal ridges that lead to a rear margin that is W-shaped. The juveniles of the species have only three horizontal ridges on their dermal denticles. The backs of smooth hammerheads are olive to dark brown-gray in color, which is different from the plain brown in most hammerheads. The belly tends to be white and the pectoral fins can sometimes have dark edges on the underneath.

Smooth Hammerhead Shark

How cute are they?

Smooth hammerhead sharks are magnificent sea creatures. The most striking feature is obviously their 'hammers' that are an essential hunting tool for them. They are big, long, and have dorsal fins that are often seen out of the water, like other shark predators.

How do they communicate?

The smooth hammerhead shark species utilizes body movements for communicating. Smooth hammerhead sharks may shake their heads, display curving swimming maneuvers, spin on an axis, and hit other sharks. They also ram their snouts into other hammerhead sharks.

How big is a smooth hammerhead shark?

Smooth hammerhead sharks are usually 8-11.5 ft (2.4-3.5 m) long, but some of them can grow to a maximum length of 16.4 ft (5 m). This makes them 12-18 times bigger than dwarf lantern sharks.

How fast can a smooth hammerhead shark swim?

A smooth hammerhead shark is capable of reaching speeds of up to 20 mph (32.2 kph).

How much does a smooth hammerhead shark weigh?

Smooth hammerhead sharks weigh up to 880 lb (400 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of the smooth hammerhead species do not have specific names.

What would you call a baby smooth hammerhead shark?

A baby smooth hammerhead shark is called a pup.

What do they eat?

The smooth hammerhead shark is a top predator and it prefers prey such as hake, menhaden, mackerel, seabass, crabs, barnacles, shrimp, bony fish, stingrays, other smooth hammerhead sharks, sea snakes, octopus, squid, cephalopods, other small sharks, rays, dolphins, and skates.

Are they dangerous?

Smooth hammerheads don't actively seek out human prey but can become aggressive in the presence of a human. There have been very few attacks on humans by smooth hammerhead sharks or any other hammerhead sharks.

Would they make a good pet?

The smooth hammerhead shark size is too massive to keep it as a pet.

Did you know...

The great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) is the biggest of the hammerhead fishes in the Sphyrnidae family. The great hammerhead can grow to be 20 ft (6.1 m).

The poisonous barbs of prey fishes like stingrays are found in the mouths of smooth hammerheads.

Hammerhead sharks can become prey to killer whales and dusky sharks.

Are smooth hammerhead sharks dangerous?

Smooth hammerhead sharks are not that dangerous for human divers with attacks being extremely rare. However, they and other hammerhead sharks can be potentially dangerous or fatal.

Are smooth hammerhead sharks endangered?

Smooth hammerhead sharks are a Vulnerable species as per the IUCN. This species gets caught as bycatch very often, including pregnant females and pups. They are kept for their fins. If caught fish are released, their mortality increases.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our bull shark interesting facts and porbeagle shark fun facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable smooth hammerhead shark coloring pages.

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