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Great Hammerhead Shark

Sphyrna Mokarran

Approximately 10-20 feet long, averages over 500 pounds

Temperate and topical waters in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean and Black Seas

Small fish, small crustaceans, and squid. They obtain water from their food.

The head is rounded on juvenile hammerhead sharks.  As they mature, the head “flattens” creating a rectangular shape.

Ocean Realm - Adventure Zone A

Great Hammerhead Sharks

Adventure Aquarium has the distinction of being the only aquarium in the United States with a Great Hammerhead Shark on exhibit. Visit our 750,000 gallon Ocean Realm Exhibit and you will have the unique and rare opportunity to come face to face with not just one, but two Great Hammerheads.

There are nine different species of them in the world, and the Great Hammerhead is the biggest.  Our Great Hammerheads are about 7 feet long and 3 1/2 feet long. We’re not sure how big they’ll grow up to be, but the biggest Great Hammerheads on record were 20 feet long and over 950 lbs.

Check out some other cool facts about this truly amazing creature:

    • The head is rounded on juvenile hammerhead sharks.  As they mature, the head “flattens” creating a rectangular shape. The common name is derived from the hammer shape of the shark’s head.  The eyes and nostrils are located on the far sides of the head.
    • Hammerhead Sharks move their head from side to side when swimming.  It is thought this helps with stability.
    • Scientists also think that their uniquely shaped head provides lift, just like the wing of an airplane, which helps hammerheads swim more easily.
    • It is thought the wide separation of the eyes gives it a wider field of vision, making it easier for the hammerhead to hunt for food.
    • Hammerheads hunt mainly at dusk for sting rays, bony fish and crustaceans.  It is one of the only species of sharks who hunt in groups.
    • Hammerheads eat a variety of smaller sharks, bony fish, and crustaceans.
    • Hammerheads will hunt mainly at dusk and are one of the only species of sharks who hunt in groups.
    • They have a group of sensory organs in front of head called the ampullae of Lorenzini, which allows sharks to detect electric fields in the water.  With this sense, the sharks can detect weak electrical emissions from other sea life.