Hammerhead shark

Genus Sphyrna

Fascinating Facts

  • Unlike most sharks, hammerheads usually swim in schools during the day, and are solitary hunters at night.
  • The special shape of their head increases their ability to sense electrical fields created by potential prey.
  • Their head shape is also used to pin stingrays to the ocean floor.
  • Hammerheads are viviparous with an internal yolk sac.
  • All hammerhead species are vulnerable to bycatch and sport fishing, as well as finning.
  • California banned possession and sale of shark fins in 2011.


Temperate and tropical waters worldwide, in both deep and shallow habitats. Diet includes fish, other sharks, stingrays and skates, crustaceans and cephalopods.

Status in the Wild

Scalloped hammerhead – Endangered, IUCN 2007

Great hammerhead – Endangered, IUCN 2007

Most other species Near Threatened or Vulnerable. Visit The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species for more information.


Worldwide in warmer waters along coastlines and continental shelves.

Location in the Zoo

Fish and Amphibians Zone of the Sculpture Learning Plaza

Animals & Exhibits