Many of the spectacular underwater pictures of the Galapagos include hammerhead sharks (specifically the Scalloped Hammerhead or sphyrna lewini). I was really excited about snorkeling while we were visiting the Galapagos, but I wanted to know if hammerheads were dangerous and if I was likely to see any.
I have a fear of sharks. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s because Hollywood has given sharks a bad name and either created or added to my fear. I recognize that the fear I have is not really based on facts, so I don’t let it hold me back from snorkeling. And the more I learn about what sharks are really like, the less afraid I am of them.
So, Are Hammerheads Dangerous?
Well, they are sharks. So they have the potential of being dangerous – but the fact is that you will probably never even see them unless you go diving and look for them. And even then they are known for being unaggressive, even shy.
I didn’t see any hammerhead sharks while snorkeling and I think that I would have to go scuba diving to see some, but I did learn some interesting facts about them.
Some Interesting Facts about Galapagos Hammerhead Sharks
- Because of the placement of their eyes they can see above and below them at the same time.
- Hammerheads swim in large schools during the day.
- They hunt along the bottom of the ocean.
- Hammerhead sharks are normally shy.
- They have electroreceptor pores along their “hammer” which help them to detecting electromagnetic fields as well as temperature gradients. These pores help them locate prey even when it’s buried in the sand.
- Their favorite food is stingray.
- They use their hammer shaped head to pin down their prey while they eat it.
- Hammerheads hunt at night.
- The male bites the female while mating.
- Hammerhead babies are born live.
Learning that hammerheads are normally shy, hunt along the bottom during the night, and have small mouths helped calm my fears. Hammerheads eat squid, stingrays, octopus, fish, crustaceans, and sometimes other hammerhead sharks. So the fact that I don’t look much like a squid or octopus (at least I hope I don’t) helps too.
Even though I am nervous, I think it would be thrilling to see a large school of hammerheads swirling around each other! The pictures certainly are amazing.
If you have ever seen hammerheads while diving please comment here, we would love to have your experience added to this post.