Sharks are amongst the most feared living things, and one definitely wouldn't want to meet a shark unawares while diving in the deep blue seas. Although the mere mention of a shark may break you into a sweat, one can't deny the mysterious aura that surrounds these sea creatures, which can instigate you to generate an interest to know more about them. Such is the magnetism sharks exude, and with the various kinds of species seen today, experts spend their entire lives trying to know about them and their behavior habits. It may be the curiously-shaped head or and the overall appearance that probably sees the hammerhead stand apart from the rest.
Hammerheads belong to the Sphyrnidae family. Their oddly-shaped heads are probably what gave them the name. The head has a projection on each side. One look at it and you would know it strongly resembles a flattened hammer. The eyes and the nostrils are placed on the tips of this flattened portion. It is their wide set eyes that give them a better range of vision, as compared to all the other sharks. This is one advantage they have over others―they can spread their sensory organs over their flattened head, which in turn, inspects the ocean. This can help them to search for food through the water. Due to the larger nasal tracts, they have a bigger opportunity in locating a particle in the water as compared to other species. This is solely because of a wider spacing, which helps them locate food or even a prospective mate. They are also able to detect any kind of sensory field that is created by their prey.
So have you ever thought about the function associated with this hammer-shaped head? Well, that is something I have always wondered about, and although it was believed that the shape helps it to procure more food, it has also been revealed that the shape of the vertebrae helps it to turn the entire body in a correct manner.
The body is grayish brown to olive green in color, with shades of off white on the undersides. The body length can go up to 20 feet, and the weight can go up to 1,000 pounds.
These sharks have a rather small mouth as compared to the rest of the body. This is probably more useful when they hunt on the bottom areas of the seabed. Sharks are known for their aggressive attitude. Hammerheads are nothing short of aggressive in nature, and this can be felt when one has a look at its triangular-shaped teeth and pointed dorsal fins.
Distribution and Diet Habits
They are found in the temperate and tropical waters all over the world, and also along continental shelves. They are also seen offshore and near shorelines as well. Many can be spotted in the Gulf of Mexico and the western coast of Florida. They are known to feed on rays, skates, fish, cephalopods, crustaceans, etc.
The mating period can turn out to be really aggressive and violent, which is not really surprising considering the aggressive nature that almost all sharks seem to display. A phenomenal discovery in May, 2007, showed that these sharks can reproduce asexually as well. Parents of the young do not live with them, and young pups generally have to manage for themselves in the deep waters.
Are Hammerhead Sharks Dangerous?
Well, although sharks have always been associated with being aggressive and dangerous to encounter in the sea, no shark would bite a human for no reason, and most Hammerheads are small in size. As such, they are considered harmless to humans. Well, as long as you don't get into their bad books by provoking them, When caught by fishermen, they are generally released back into the wild.
Of the nine species, the scalloped hammerheads are now globally endangered. The Great hammerhead is listed as an endangered species. If only people would realize their responsibilities towards other living beings, and stop killing hammerheads for their fins (which is considered to be a delicacy), such a situation would never arrive.