Biting Beast: Do Hammerhead Sharks Bite?

do hammerhead sharks bite

Hammerhead sharks are some of the ocean’s most amazing predators. They are typically small but can grow as large as 13 feet and weigh an impressive 500 pounds.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at this unique-looking shark, and answer a question we find many of our readers asking. Do hammerhead sharks bite?

Hammerhead sharks are generally considered harmless to humans. However, the great hammerhead shark’s size makes it potentially dangerous to humans, although few attacks have been recorded.

Let’s take a closer look…

Do Hammerhead Sharks Actually Bite?

Hammerhead sharks are fascinating predators. They use their hammer-shaped head to pin down prey, making them much easier to attack.

Many people believe the head of a hammerhead evolved to be similar to a rudder, allowing the shark to make quick turns and be incredibly agile.

Hammerhead sharks are carnivores, meaning they eat prey. To catch their prey they use their incredible eyesight which offers 360 vision.

Despite hammerhead sharks being relatively safe for humans to be around, they are not to be underestimated and can bite.

Is It Safe To Touch A Hammerhead Shark?

Most hammerhead sharks are small and non-aggressive, but they are still wild animals that should be treated with respect.

It is not safe to touch hammerhead sharks, large or small. These animals are apex predators that if feel threatened will not hesitate to bite and attack.

Under no circumstances should a wild hammerhead shark be touched, or even approached for that matter.

This species of shark is often encountered by divers and snorkelers as they tend to feed in shallow waters, so if you do come into contact with one, don’t try to touch it.

Great hammerhead sharks can be huge, up to 20 feet long, and weigh almost 1000 pounds. A bite from a shark this big could inflict serious damage.

Hammerhead shark skin is covered in dermal denticles (tooth-like structures) that reduce drag and allow the sharks to swim faster in the ocean.

Are Hammerhead Sharks Aggressive?

Hammerhead sharks are aggressive hunters in the ocean. They feed on squid, octopuses, fish, other sharks, cephalopods, and more.

Great hammerhead sharks have been observed using their large head to pin down prey before taking bites out of it.

This method of hunting is incredibly effective for stingrays, as once pinned the rays have no escape.

The good news is hammerhead sharks are almost never aggressive toward humans. They are intelligent hunters that know we are not prey and not on their menu.

However, as with all wild animals, they can be unpredictable, and it’s never a good idea to provoke or get too close to hammerhead sharks.

Since 1580 there have only been 16 hammerhead shark attacks with 0 fatalities according to the Florida Museum.

Hammerhead sharks are some of the least aggressive sharks toward humans. They are simply not interested in us.

Why Do Hammerhead Sharks Bite?

It is incredibly rare for hammerheads to attack humans, as is evident from the lack of shark attacks from this species.

That said, if provoked they can become aggressive. These sharks are apex predators and will defend themselves if they feel threatened.

It’s never a good idea to get too close for comfort to any shark, and certainly do not reach out to try and touch one.

Hammerheads are generally not aggressive towards humans, so thankfully you’ll likely be safe diving with a hammerhead shark, providing you take precautions.

We are much more of a threat to them than they are to us, but always remember to be respectful and not to get too close to these sharks in the wild.

If you do encounter a hammerhead in the wild, don’t panic. There is more chance of being struck by lightning than being attacked by any shark.

Hammerheads can be seen as quite intimidating because they are naturally curious animals. Often they will swim right up close to divers to check them out with their panoramic vision.

Why Don’t Hammerhead Sharks Attack Humans?

The hammerhead’s uniquely shaped head is one of the reasons why they rarely attack humans.

Their heads are extremely sensitive and able to detect bioelectric fields, including those given off by humans.

This means they know when we are in their proximity before we know they are there, creepy, right?

Well, not exactly. Hammerheads are much more interested in eating rays, octopuses, and fish, and are not interested in us.

Their head is used to detect nearby prey, and they can easily distinguish a prey animal from a human arm or leg because of this.

These sharks are intelligent and understand that we are off the menu, and thanks to their head, they know we are nearby and to leave us alone.

Sadly the hammerhead shark is often caught and handled for show because of its unique appearance, and because of this, they have a low survival rate after human encounters involving boats, stress, and beaches.

If hammerheads are caught, they should be kept in the water to minimize stress and increase their chances of survival.

Final Thoughts

Hammerhead sharks are amazing creatures, they are truly unique in their own right and their appearance is spectacular.

Witnessing a hammerhead in the wild is an experience that you will never forget. They have a truly magical aura and are breathtaking to be around.

Do hammerhead sharks bite? No, they are not a threat to humans and almost never attack people. There have been very few attacks on humans by hammerheads, they are a safe species to be around.

However, do not provoke or threatened this shark, as it will defend itself fiercely if it feels in danger.

Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you’ve learned a thing or two about the hammerhead shark in this post.

Feel free to stick around to learn more about hammerhead sharks and other marine life.