30 Hammerhead Shark Facts for Kids

Published July 17, 2018
Hammerhead Shark

Hammerhead sharks are one of the most distinctive-looking sea creatures thanks to their wide, t-shaped heads. Fun facts for kids help increase awareness and understanding of these one-of-a-kind carnivores.

Physical Features

The unique traits and physical features of hammerhead sharks serve several purposes and look pretty cool. Even though they're only about the length of an adult man, these sharks look fierce and deadly.

  • They have one eye on each end of their head.
  • Hammerheads have special sensors on their heads that detect the electrical signals of other animals.
  • The top of their body is either a brownish or olive greenish color.
  • An adult hammerhead weighs about as much as a piano.
  • They live to be about 30 years old.
  • A hammerhead's top speed is roughly 25 miles per hour.
  • The great hammerhead is the largest of the nine hammerhead shark species.
  • A hammerhead can see up and down at the same time.

Hammerhead Habitat and Diet

Have you ever wondered about the daily life of a shark? Check out these facts about where they live and what they eat.

Habitat and Diet
  • They love tropical water.
  • Hammerheads typically live near coral reefs.
  • Many species of hammerheads migrate closer to the equator during winter months.
  • Popular places to find these sharks include Columbia, Costa Rica, and Hawaii.
  • You can find hammerheads along the coasts of North and South America, Africa, Australia, and Asia.
  • Their favorite food is a stingray.
  • Hammerheads sometimes use their wide head to pin prey down before eating them.
  • Smaller species, like the bonnethead, eat crabs and shrimp.
  • Unlike some other sharks, these guys hunt alone.

Family Life

While hammerheads don't live in families like yours, they do often travel in groups. From the time they are born, baby hammerheads have to learn to care for themselves in the dangerous ocean waters.

Family Life
  • Baby hammerheads are called pups.
  • A hammerhead mom can give birth to up to 50 babies at once.
  • Groups of these sharks are called a school or shoal.
  • The bigger a female hammerhead, the more pups she will have in one litter.
  • Similar to humans, a female shark is pregnant for about 8 to 10 months.
  • Hammerhead shark parents do not take care of their babies after they are born.
  • These sharks live in schools of up to 500 who stick together during the day and split up at night.


For some types of hammerhead sharks, there are many dangers in the oceans. Nearly all of these dangers trace back to humans.

  • Hammerhead sharks have been around since at least 23 million years ago.
  • The great hammerhead, winghead shark, and scalloped hammerhead are all endangered.
  • Over-fishing and illegal trade are two of the biggest dangers for these sharks.
  • The smooth hammerhead and golden hammerhead are listed as vulnerable, one step below endangered.
  • According to the Virginia Marine Resources Commision, "It's illegal for any person to possess any recreationally caught great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, or smooth hammerhead shark that is less than 78 inches in fork length."
  • Conservation efforts are difficult because there isn't enough data about the hammerhead populations around the world.

More Hammerhead Learning Opportunities

If you haven't gotten your fill of shark trivia, check out these other media sources to learn more.

  • The Shark School series by Davy Ocean includes eight chapter books about the fictional Harry Hammer and his pals in the ocean.
  • The Smithsonian Oceanic Collection Series features Survival in the Sea: The Story of a Hammerhead Shark by Linda S. Lingemann for a nonfiction kid-friendly look at these cool creatures.
  • Watch Shark Superhighway, a PG-rated National Geographic documentary about hammerhead shark conservation.
  • Make your own origami shark with a piece of paper and a few simple folds.

Hammerhead Shark Frenzy

Find the answers to all your burning questions about hammerhead sharks with simple facts about these weird-looking animals. After reading all about them, the hammerhead might just become your new favorite shark.

30 Hammerhead Shark Facts for Kids