Hammerhead Shark Attacks: Different Aspects And Facts


Hammerhead sharks, belonging to the Sphyrnidae family, are one of the most unusual-looking shark species. With a head looking like a hammer, these sharks are born with a scary appearance.

Hammerhead sharks are not the friendliest, despite not being the most dangerous. Instead, they are one of the top ten most aggressive shark species. Hammerhead sharks are predatory fish that have attacked humans on several occasions.

Hammerhead Shark Attacks
Image Credit: Hammerhead Shark by Sammy-Sander from Pixabay

Although they are not typically hostile to humans, these sharks should be avoided at all costs. In this post, we will explore the attacking habits of hammerhead sharks. We will delve deeply into the subject to determine whether these sharks are truly dangerous and have ever killed a human.

So, without holding it any further, let’s begin!

Is hammerhead sharks dangerous?

When we think of sharks, we imagine them on an attack spree. However, while sharks are dangerous, they are not all-out killing machines.

Hammerhead sharks are typically smaller in size and are not considered particularly dangerous. The great hammerhead sharks, however, cannot be ruled out. They are massive and fiercely decked with physical features. More than their attacking proclivity, their enormous size and fierceness make them appear dangerous.

Humans are not the hammerhead shark’s arch-enemy. Nonetheless, they are not thought to be very friendly sharks. They will not hesitate to attack humans if they are attacked. As a consequence, they should be avoided at all costs.

Do hammerhead sharks attack?

Hammerhead sharks come in nine different sub-species. Not all have the same demeanor or attacking tendency. Hence, it should be interesting to delve deep into the matter.

There have been unprovoked attacks by hammerhead sharks. Although such instances are very rare, it is not completely unheard of. On the other hand, not all nine subspecies of hammerheads are aggressive attackers.

Hammerhead sharks, if provoked, will not mind attacking. Especially, humans should keep a distance from great hammerhead sharks, as they are on the more aggressive side. 

Are hammerhead sharks cannibals?

Cannibalism is the approach of eating one’s own species’ flesh. All sharks, according to experts, are cannibals. Can hammerheads be included in that category?

Cannibalistic behavior in hammerhead sharks is well documented. If necessary, they can consume members of their own species. This is most noticeable in larger hammerhead sharks, especially in great hammerheads. 

Shark cannibalism is common and has existed since the beginning of these fish. These fish would frequently congregate in large numbers, choosing their own species’ frail and wounded members to devour.

In addition to their own species (larger), hammerheads are also known to eat other sharks for food.

How do hammerheads attack?

Hammerhead sharks are savage apex predators. They are opportunistic feeders who live in tropical waters. So, how do they go about attacking?

Hammerhead sharks hunt in groups and at night. They prefer to attack their prey from the bottom because their mouth is small. These fish enjoy ambushing their prey after scanning the seafloor for them. Hammerheads’ preferred attacking strategy is to startle their prey before devouring them.

They primarily prey on smaller marine life such as stingrays (their favorite), squids, shrimp, and so on. They use their hammer-like head to pin down prey and extract a chunk of meat from them. 

Do hammerhead sharks attack humans?

Image Credit: Hammerheads are not dangerous for humans by KELLEPICS from Pixabay

Although humans are not hammerhead sharks’ primary prey, these sharks are considered dangerous. So do these fish attack humans?

Although uncommon, hammerhead sharks have attacked humans on occasion. This shark species has been responsible for 16 human attacks to date. All of the attacks were unprovoked and were not fatal. Scalloped, great, and smooth hammerhead sharks have carried out all the attacks.

As a result, we cannot rule out the possibility that hammerhead sharks will never attack humans. The larger ones are always dangerous. As a result, they should never be messed with, and we must understand the signs of potential attacks like their convulsions in water. 

Have there been any fatal attacks by hammerheads?

Image Credit: Hammerhead Shark by Marko Dimitrijevic (CC BY-SA 2.0) from Wikimedia

Hammerhead sharks are counted among the most aggressive sharks. They also have attack records. However, have there been any fatal attacks by them?

There have been no fatal attacks by hammerhead sharks recorded to date. All their attacks were impromptu, and only 3 out of 9 hammerhead species have carried out the attacks. 

In fact, if not provoked, these sharks won’t mind accompanying divers in their exploration. Still, keeping a distance from hammerheads is always advised, especially the larger ones. 

Do hammerhead sharks attack kayaks?

Kayaking is one of the most prevalent water activities worldwide. But what happens if you kayak in warm tropical sallow water with hammerheads beneath? Do these fish attack kayaks?

Although it is extremely rare, hammerhead sharks have been known to attack kayaks. A man was fighting off a hammerhead shark while kayaking in Santa Barbara was recently documented in the news. He felt a nudge on his kayak when he realized a hammerhead shark was attacking it. 

According to the Global Shark Attack File, sharks attacking kayaks is a real thing. Since the 1900s, there have been approximately 21 reports of sharks showing interest in kayaks. Although the majority of the attacks were non-fatal, only one death was reported.

Hammerhead shark attacks stingray

Hammerhead sharks and stingrays are closely related. The former is the latter’s assailant. So, how exactly do hammerhead sharks attack stingrays?

Hammerhead sharks prefer to eat stingrays. So it’s absolutely fascinating to watch a hammerhead shark attack a stingray. First, the former use their head to scan the seafloor for the presence of stingrays. Hammerhead sharks then capture stingrays by attaching them to the ocean bottom and ripping a chunk out of them.

Hammerheads use their sensors, in addition to their heads, to detect signals from their living prey. As a result, they can easily drag stingrays from the seafloor and ambush them from the bottom.

Hammerhead shark attacks per year

Image Credit: Hammerhead attacks are very rare by baechi from Pixabay

Humans are not the #1 enemy of hammerheads. Yet, there are unprovoked attacks by this shark species. So let’s shed some light on the number of hammerhead attacks per year.

There have not been many hammerhead attacks in world history. Only 16 attacks have been recorded to date. 

Which shark kills the most people?

Most sharks are active predators. However, that does not mean they look for humans to attack, kill, and devour. Still, a few species are infamous for attacking humans the most.

Great white sharks, tiger sharks, and bull sharks are the three most dangerous sharks. Among these, great white sharks are the most dangerous to humans. These sharks are known to attack without provocation.

The great whites are responsible for 333 attacks, 52 of which were fatal. In fact, this species is responsible for approximately ⅓ to ½ of the over 100 shark attacks on humans every year.

Summary

So there you have it! Hammerhead sharks are active predators who will not hesitate to attack if they are attacked. However, not all hammerheads are considered dangerous. Only three of the nine types of hammerheads have been linked to human attacks. Great Hammerheads are especially dangerous in this area.

Atrayee

I am Atrayee, I have extreme passion for the Animal Kingdom and I have written a large number of articles for animal behaviors. I am an Animal Lover by nature and own two Cats.
Exploring new things through learning and unlearning is something that intrigues me a lot. I spend my free time with my husband and two cats. I must say I get to learn a lot of wise things from them! You can catch me on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/atrayee-samaddar-06886567/

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