Bonnethead Shark Tooth: Identification, Size, Color, Number, Types


Bonnetheads are a species of the hammerhead genus with a unique set of teeth. Let’s find out more about it. 

Bonnetheads have a fantastic combination of sharp-edged and flat set of teeth that helps them handle both soft-shelled and hard-shelled prey. They are able to crush the harder-shelled animals with ease while using their sharp teeth to chew on soft prey. 

There are a lot of questions asked about the size, color, types, and number of teeth that bonnetheads have. Allow us to answer some of the most commonly asked questions. 

Image Credits: “DSC_0092” by tracie7779 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Do Bonnethead Sharks Have Teeth?

Sharks need teeth to defend themselves and catch prey. But do bonnethead sharks have teeth? Let’s find out.

Bonnethead sharks, just like any other shark species, have teeth. They use their teeth to catch their prey and defend themselves against larger animals of the sea. Bonnetheads need sharp teeth to grab onto soft gray and flat, broad teeth to bite into hard-shelled creatures.

Sharks belonging to the hammerhead species, including bonnetheads, have sharp and short teeth that enable them to meet their needs with ease. 

How Many Teeth Does a Bonnethead Shark Have?

It is important for sharks to have a sufficient number of teeth to help them bite and chew. Let’s find out how many teeth bonnethead sharks have.

On average, bonnetheads have 17 rows of teeth on both sides of their upper jaw and around 16-17 teeth on both sides of their lower jaw. At any given point, they can have around 50 to 300 teeth. Remember, sharks constantly lose their teeth and grow new ones.

It is difficult to determine the exact number of teeth a bonnethead shark can have, as these sharks lose a bunch of teeth almost every day. However, we can get a rough estimate by looking at the number of teeth hammerheads have in general. 

Bonnethead Shark Tooth Size

Wondering what is the size of the tooth that bonnethead sharks have? Allow us to tell you more about it. 

Bonnethead sharks have small teeth, which are no bigger than ¾ inches. Although their tooth size is smaller than some shark varieties, the sharp edge allows them to effortlessly bite into their prey and the broad teeth at the back help them crush and grind the food. 

Shark tooth varies from 0.5 inches to 7 inches. However, the average shark tooth is usually ⅛ or ¾ inches.

Bonnethead Shark Tooth Color

Image Credits: “30/4/2013 Shark Teeth” by barbourians is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

There is a lot of speculation regarding the color of a shark tooth. Let’s explore what color tooth a bonnethead shark has. 

Bonnetheads, like most sharks, have white or cream-colored teeth. However, sharks lose their teeth easily, and they sink to the bottom of the ocean, getting buried under sediments. As a result, the tooth undergoes the process of fossilization over a period of time and acquires a black or gray hue

The color a shark tooth acquires depends on the color and nature of the sediment. The tooth starts absorbing the minerals from the sediment and therefore changes its color over time. 

Bonnethead Shark Tooth Shape

Sharks have unique tooth shapes that help them bite and chew. Allow us to tell you more about a bonnethead’s tooth shape.

Bonnetheads have sharp yet small teeth at the front and broad, flattened teeth at the back of their jaw. The front teeth help them grab soft-shelled food and bite into prey, whereas the broad back teeth help them crush and chew hard-shelled prey. 

The tooth structure of bonnethead sharks is quite unique as it has been designed to help them seamlessly feed on hard-shelled and soft-bodied prey.  

Image Credits: “Bonnie the Bonnethead Shark” by heatherhoesly is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Bonnethead Shark Tooth Type

It is essential to understand the type of tooth a shark carries. Let us together learn more about bonnethead shark tooth type.

Bonnetheads have triangular, sharp calcified teeth in the front of their jaw with serrated edges that help them hold on to soft-shelled prey, whereas the back of their jaws have broad, flat teeth that help them chew effortlessly and crush hard-shelled animals. 

Like all sharks, bonnethead sharks have teeth made of calcium phosphate, which is very tough and makes biting and crushing easy. 

Bonnethead Shark Tooth Identification 

Identifying a shark tooth is not as easy as it seems. Allow us to tell you more about how you can identify a bonnethead shark tooth. 

Bonnethead shark teeth can be identified by their triangular or flat shape, glossy finish, dark color, and serrated edges. Moreover, shark teeth are usually small, and the size varies from 0.5 to 2 inches. It is worth mentioning here that sharks have a unique set of teeth and they might not necessarily be identical. 

To sum up, one of the best ways to identify bonnethead shark teeth is by looking at their coloring and shape. However, it is likely that you might confuse them with the teeth of other shark varieties. 

Can Bonnethead Sharks Bite?

Given the nature of their teeth, it is easy to assume that bonnethead sharks bite humans. But is it true? Let’s find out. 

Contrary to popular belief, bonnethead sharks do not bite humans but do dig into their prey. They are pretty harmless and have a shy nature, due to which they keep to themselves and prefer to move around in schools of 5 to 15. Bonnethead sharks are not overtly aggressive and will not attack unless threatened. 

Most sharks of the hammerhead variety are not aggressive and do not pose a threat to humans. However, they might get defensive when provoked and attack to defend themselves. 

Conclusion

Bonnetheads are magnificent oceanic animals with a unique set of teeth that helps them bite and crush their food properly. Since these sharks are omnivores, the combination of broad and triangular teeth is quite beneficial for them. 

Along with their shovel-shaped head, the teeth make it easy for bonnethead sharks to navigate ocean waters easily, defend themselves against potential attacks, and fend for themselves. 

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