Fun Hammerhead Shark Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Oct 20, 2022 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Diya Patel
Hammerhead shark facts about the largest shark in the hammerhead species
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

The great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) or a winghead shark is amongst the largest nine identified hammerhead species that can grow to a length of about 20 ft and can weigh up to 1000 lb. They are specially characterized by their unusual shape of the head with eyes mounted on top to improve their capability of hunting. If you ever want to identify a hammerhead shark, their unusual and pointed dorsal fins can be easily identified, varied from other species of shark.  Most of the sharks from the family Sphyrnidae, such as the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran), the bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo), and the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) are all facing threat to their existence due to poaching for shark fin and are placed under the vulnerable category, though these species are not endangered yet.

The great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) makes use of its head to scan the ocean for sea animals like crabs, squids, and lobsters which form a part of its diet. Though, its favorite food is the stingrays. After you have read our article on great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran) and other hammerhead sharks, do check out our articles on black dragonfish and Atlantic cod as well. 

Hammerhead Shark Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a hammerhead shark?

Hammerhead sharks (Genus: Sphyrna) belong to the Sphyrnidae family and are characterized by flattened hammer or shovel-shaped head or cephalofoil. They are really one of the most distinctive and unique species among the sharks. But presently many species under the hammerhead sharks have been identified as endangered. Some of the endangered species include the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran), bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo), and the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini).

What class of animal does a hammerhead shark belong to?

The hammerheads belong to the class of fish among the Animalia kingdom. There are around 10 species under the Genus Sphyrna who have been named after the shape of their head such as the great hammerhead shark, bonnethead shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, winghead shark, plus more.

How many hammerhead sharks are there in the world?

There are nine different species of hammerheads that range from sharks that are smaller than 1m and range up to almost 6m in size. The hammerhead sharks are completely conserved and are usually threatened by the commercial use of these sharks for their fins and structure.

Where does a hammerhead shark live?

Hammerheads live in the ocean and are found offshore and near shorelines of different places around the world including warm tropical waters and in locations including Maldives, Hawaii, Africa, and many more.

What is a hammerhead shark habitat?

Hammerheads usually prefer warm tropical waters and are also known to migrate to cooler waters in the summer season to fight the hot weather. They migrate in groups and are found near shorelines and offshore. They live in Mesopelagic zones of oceans that are a little deeper than 80m and are sometimes found in shallow and salty waters.

Who do hammerhead sharks live with?

Hammerhead sharks are known to live in groups called ‘schools’ and usually consist of 10-20 sharks. But they are also known to hunt alone especially during the daytime near coastal waters.

How long does a hammerhead shark live?

Hammerheads were known to live 25-35 years but it has considerably increased over years and now hammerheads are believed to have an extended lifespan of 44 years.

How do they reproduce?

Hammerheads are known to reproduce and mate through internal fertilization and give birth to young ones. They have a litter size of around 6-42 pups once every two years. Unlike other fishes, hammerheads have internal fertilization organs that use a viviparous mode of reproduction with male sharks transferring sperm to females through one of two intromittent organs called claspers.

What is their conservation status?

The Hammerheads are one of those sharks that are usually found offshore or near shorelines in search of cool water in summers and also in temperate and tropical waters all around the world. Many species of Hammerhead Shark have been categorized as endangered due to poaching for shark fin and other body parts.

Hammerhead Shark Fun facts

What do hammerhead sharks look like?

Hammerheads have a flattened hammer or shoveled-shaped head that has bulging eyes on its end that helps to give them a wider view. They have extra tall pointed dorsal fin which can help them be identified uniquely. The mouth of hammerheads is present on the underside of the heads. Most sharks from this species derive their name from the shape of their heads.

Hammerhead Shark

How cute are they?

These hammer shaped sharks aren’t that cute in particular as they can be quite dangerous when approached. They do look good when seen from a distance. However, these sharks tend to get violent if someone approaches them as they get alarmed by any entity’s presence.

How do they communicate?

Hammerheads sharks cannot make any noise and so they use their body language to communicate with one another. They also use actions like pointing their fins down, shaking their heads, ramming them with their snouts to communicate with other sharks of their species.

How big is a hammerhead shark?

Hammerhead sharks range from being really small to being one of the largest species among other sharks. They are believed to grow up to 20 ft and be as heavy as 1000 lb.

How fast can a hammerhead shark swim?

Hammerhead sharks are one of the most agile creatures that can easily twist and turn their bodies. They are really fast when they find their prey and are known to chase their prey, swimming at a speed of almost 25 mph.

How much does a hammerhead shark weigh?

Hammerhead sharks have around nine known species that range around 500-1000 lb (230-460 kg). They can also be really small at around 110 lb (50 kg) as well.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific or special names given to male and female species of hammerhead sharks. They are normally referred to as male hammerhead shark and female hammerhead sharks.

What would you call a baby hammerhead shark?

Strangely enough, the young ones, or babies, of hammerhead sharks are called pups.

What do they eat?

Hammerhead sharks are one of the great predators found in tropical waters. They prey on different sea animals like fishes, octopus, squids, other smaller sharks, and their most favorite, the stingray.

Are they poisonous?

Most of the hammerhead shark species found around the world are fairly small and are considered harmless to humans. They are not known to be poisonous, but big-sized hammerhead sharks are considered dangerous to humans. They are very rarely known to attack humans or divers, however.

Would they make a good pet?

It is usually not considered a great option. Most of the countries have even declared hammerhead sharks as illegal and cannot be kept as pets. One of the other reasons for not being popular among pet owners is because they do not stay small and they start from an average size of 20-28 in at birth and may grow as big as 20 ft in size based on different species of hammerhead sharks.

Did you know...

Hammerhead sharks are known and identified through their mallet-shaped head with wide-set eyes which gives them a better visual range as compared to other sharks.

They are also known for their improved ampullae sensitivity (sensory organ) which helps them to detect their prey through the electric field created by their prey and this allows them to find their favorite meal that is stingrays from under the sand.

How long do hammerhead sharks live?

When it comes to hammerheads, the average lifespan ranges between 20-30 years. In some cases, these shark's lifespan can go up to 40 years as well.

Do hammerhead sharks have teeth?

Just like any other shark, a hammerhead shark has short and smooth cutting-edged teeth. They have 17 tooth rows on either side of their upper jaw with 2-3 teeth at the midline of the jaw. They have around 16-17 teeth on either side of the lower jaw and 1-3 at the midline of the lower jaw.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including Longnose Butterflyfish, or toadfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our shark coloring pages.  

Hammerhead shark Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Stingrays, octopus, squid, fish and other sharks

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

12-15 20-40 (for the Great Hammerhead Shark)

How Much Did They Weigh?

500-1000 lb

What habitat Do they Live In?

temperate and tropical waters, far offshore and near the shoreline

Where Do They Live?

coastal areas of maldives, mozambique, Bahamas, japan, malaysia, cocos island in costa rica, island of darwin and wolf in galapagos, hawaii, and africa

How Long Were They?

Large size

How Tall Were They?

13-20 ft







Scientific Name

Sphyrna mokarran

What Do They Look Like?

Wide mallet shaped head, gray brown to olive green colored top, off white undersides, triangular teeth with pointed dorsal fins

Skin Type

Dermal Denticles (skin teeth)

What Are Their Main Threats?

overfishing and commercial use

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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