Friday, February 29, 2008

Hammer Head Shark Spotted at Hol Chan

Our good friends at Carlos Tours in Caye Caulker submitted this photo of a hammer head shark they encountered at Hol Chan at one of their trips to the marine reserve. Hammer head shark sightings are rare around these waters. These animals are considered one of the most dangerous sharks in the world, but it is amazing to marvel at their beauty. More at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The hammerheads are aggressive predators, eating fish, rays, cephalopods, and crustaceans. They are found in warmer waters along coastlines and continental shelves.

Hammerheads have disproportionately small mouths and seem to do a lot of bottom-hunting. They are also known to form schools during the day, sometimes in groups of over 100. In the evening, like other sharks, they become solitary hunters.

Hammerheads are notably the only creature in the animal kingdom besides humans to acquire a tan from prolonged exposure to sunlight. Tanning occurs when a hammerhead is in shallow waters or close to the surface for long periods.

Of the nine known species of hammerhead, three can be dangerous to humans: the scalloped, great, and smooth hammerheads.

The Scalloped Hammerhead is also known as the bronze, kidney-headed or southern hammerhead. It primarily lives in warm temperate and tropical coastal waters all around the globe between latitudes 46° N and 36° S, down to a depth of 300 m. It is the most common of all hammerheads.

The Scalloped Hammerhead shark is often seen during the day in big schools, sometimes numbering hundreds. They are considered dangerous but are normally not aggressive towards humans, in fact most incidents with humans are probably defensive after the shark was surprised or frightened.

The great hammerhead, Sphyrna mokarran, is the largest species of hammerhead shark. It is found worldwide in coastal areas and above continental shelves in warm and tropical waters to depths of 80 m (260 ft).

It is easy to confuse the great hammerhead with the smooth hammerhead, Sphyrna zygaena, since both are very large hammerhead sharks.

When encountered by divers, the great hammerhead is usually quite shy and normally not aggressive. The International Shark Attack File classifies the great hammerhead as one of the least dangerous sharks with only one reputed attack, but an unspecified hammerhead which might include the great hammerhead is on tenth place, so this shark is to be considered dangerous but not extremely aggressive.