Can Hammerhead Sharks Be Aggressive? Will They Attack People?

Ever wondered if the emblematic Hammerhead shark is a creature to be afraid of?

It is often questioned whether these sharks are aggressive and are tempted to attack people in open waters. Or if they prefer to hide in the shadows. We have the answers.

Can Hammerhead Sharks Be Aggressive? Will They Attack People?

You may have a lifelong dream to scuba dive with hammerhead sharks or simply know that some are lurking in the shallow waters of Florida.

Either way it would be nice to know if the aquatic animal is prone to attack humans. In this article you’ll find out if hammerheads are aggressive and whether or not they attack people.

Hammerhead Vs Human Aggressive Behavior

While we may find some actions and behaviors of animals to be aggressive, to them it can be a way of communication or even being playful.

Humans find it wrong to be aggressive towards one another and have even created the behavior of passive aggression.

This isn’t the case for most animals. As we begin to look at the behaviors of hammerhead sharks, it’s important to take a step back and remain subjective.

First we need to understand why hammerhead sharks are aggressive and when. Humans have long since lost the instinct of hunting in order to survive.

We simply order takeout, go to a restaurant or go to the grocery store and buy our food.

Animals in the wild do not have these luxuries and instead must rely on instinct in order to survive.

Now, animals that are carnivores such as lions, tigers and hammerhead sharks must hunt for their food if they want to survive.

It is necessary for them to be highly aggressive whilst hunting or else they face going hungry.

Hammerhead sharks hunt aggressively in terms of ferocity and speed due to their prey; smaller fish, octopus, squid and crustaceans. ,

So, humans are at the top of the list when it comes to a filling meal for hammerhead sharks, however, if a human is there whilst a hammerhead is hunting, the human can be mistaken for food.

Remember: humans are in the sharks territory, not the other way around.

It is important to remain respectful and at a distance when interacting with aggressive animals.

Much like when visiting areas which include animals such as lions, and even hippopotamus.

Just make sure to remain at a safe distance and if you notice any hunting behaviors, to move away from the shark’s space entirely.

Can Hammerhead Sharks Be Aggressive Towards Humans?

Although they are ferocious hunters, hammerhead sharks are not violent toward people.

Hammerhead sharks, like all sharks and wild animals, can be aggressive when provoked and should not be taken lightly.

You’ll often find them in more shallow waters just off the coast in Florida.

They use their dual ended head in order to stun their prey and complete a full circle to then eat.

While it can be stunning and interesting to watch, it’s important to give a hammerhead, or any shark, its space whilst hunting.

If scuba diving with hammerhead sharks when they are not hunting.

This experience should always be supervised with a shark expert who can recognise more dangerous behaviors of the shark in order to ensure your safety.

However, their small size makes them more scared of larger predators and often become more curious than aggressive.

How Aggressive Are Hammerhead Sharks?

When it comes to hunting their prey, hammerhead sharks are as aggressive as they need to be.

Hammerheads are carnivores, thus in order to exist in the wild, they must hunt and kill other wild creatures. They also need to be aggressive hunters.

Can Humans Touch Hammerhead Sharks?

Touching a hammerhead shark can be dangerous as they may perceive the touch to be an act of aggression or attack.

Their first instinct will be to protect themselves. Wild animals such as the hammerhead sharks should be observed safely and should not be touched.

Hammerhead Sharks: Are They Bad?

Hammerhead sharks may be highly aggressive animals but they are not inherently bad.

They are often categorized as bad as they are a creature which animals fear, much like the great white.

The hammerhead shark is simply an aquatic animal which needs to hunt to eat and survive.

They are now on the verge of extinction as they are consistently hunted and killed by humans out of fear and consumption.

Have Hammerhead Sharks Attacked People?

Have Hammerhead Sharks Attacked People?

Since humans are not their typical prey, hammerhead sharks do not attack people.

Instead, they will actively pursue other sharks, rays, tarpon, smaller fish, octopuses, squid, and crustaceans.

However, the few attacks which have been recorded were more out of curiosity than aggression.

Hammerheads only have their teeth as a form of investigation meaning that often attacks are actually the shark figuring out if we are the right type of prey.

Although it is never a gentle nibble meaning you should get out of the water if a hammerhead is spotted in your swimming area.

Do Hammerhead Sharks Kill Humans?

No. There have been no recorded human deaths from a hammerhead shark attack .

There have only ever been 16 confirmed unprovoked hammerhead shark attacks around the entire globe. None of which have resulted in death.

On the contrary, there are native Hawaiian cultures which believe that the hammerhead sharks are sea Gods called Aumakua.

These Gods are said to watch over and protect their tribe’s warriors as they travel across the open sea.

Even though sightings are uncommon, when a hammerhead is spotted in Hawaii, it is a sign of fortune and that the gods are guarding families.

Can Hammerhead Sharks Kill People?

Without a doubt, a hammerhead shark might kill a person, especially when you take into account the size of great hammerhead sharks, which can reach lengths of up to 6.1 meters (20 feet).

A hammerhead shark, despite their enormous size, will rather swim away and hide in the open blue than attack a person.

Although, that does not mean we should be inviting ourselves into their territory or remove ourselves if one is spotted.

A hammerheads bite might be out of curiosity but if a critical artery is severed during the bite, it can become fatal.

Can Humans Swim With Hammerhead Sharks Safely?

Given that hammerhead sharks are not renowned for attacking people, swimming with them is normally safe.

Divers have never been attacked by scalloped hammerhead sharks while scuba diving with them in locations like the Galapagos Islands and the Cocos Islands because the sharks avoid people.

It should always be remembered that hammerhead sharks are wild creatures. Their space and activities are to be respected at all times.

Enjoy observing hammerhead sharks as you scuba dive, however, remain at a safe distance and do not touch the hammerhead as they swim by.

Be mindful that hammerheads may become aware of any injured fish you bring in if you spearfish while they are close.

When there are sharks around, spearfishing should be avoided because it is thought to be a method of inciting attacks.

This holds true for hammerhead sharks as well as other shark species.

Being aware of your surroundings at all times whilst scuba diving or fishing is highly important when in the same area as any shark species.

Can Hammerhead Sharks Be Friendly?

Hammerhead sharks can be shy and aren’t particularly nice to people.

Because they are easily startled, hammerhead sharks frequently swim away from underwater swimmers.

However, hammerhead sharks in huge schools are very unlikely to ever bite and will ignore divers.

While you might think Hammerhead sharks are being friendly when it is more often that they can smell the fish or bait you have just freshly caught.

This can become a dangerous situation rather quickly. If the shark happens to try to steal your catch of the day, it’s much easier and safer to let them have it.

A shark which is more known for its aggressive nature is the oceanic whitetip shark is one shark that has the potential to be quite aggressive and brazen.

Oceanic whitetip sharks are quite inquisitive and frequently search for openings or weaknesses when they are around scuba swimmers.

It has been recorded that an oceanic whitetip shark has attacked scuba divers in the past.

However, these attacks are extremely rare and often end in injury more than death.

Hammerheads are known for having a larger brain than other species of sharks.

However, this does not mean that they understand the difference between a loving pet to an all out attack.

They do not enjoy being touched and often take it as a sign of aggression and will react accordingly.

What Can Kill A Hammerhead Shark?

While hammerheads can grow up to 20 feet long, they are not the biggest predators in the ocean.

This species of sharks generally find themselves being hunted rather than being the hunter.

So, what can kill this smart, ferocious shark? Humans are by far the largest killer of hammerhead species.

The killing of hammerheads for their flesh, fins, skins, or liver oil has had a substantial negative influence on wild populations and is driving numerous species to extinction.

Other threats to the hammerhead shark are larger sharks.

From the Hollywood famous Great White to the stunning tiger shark, hammerheads are the smaller of the shark species.

Finding themselves at risk of being hunted more often than not.

The great hammerhead shark has been seen consuming its own young as well as smaller sharks of its own species and other smaller sharks.

Not to mention that Orcas have been documented to hunt and consume hammerhead sharks.

However, as Orcas prefer to enjoy the hunt, hammerheads are not the food of choice most of the time.

Final Thoughts

So are hammerhead sharks aggressive? Do they attack people? Overall, no. Hammerheads are rarely documented to be aggressive towards humans.

Due to their shy but curious nature hammerheads will often approach in order to investigate a diver and then return to the task at hand.

However, when hunting hammerheads can be highly aggressive. Using their extended heads to stun and capture their prey.

If a human is perceived to be taking their food, hammerheads will attack in order to eat and survive.

Even though hammerheads are not known to hunt and attack humans, they are still wild animals who live in constant need for survival.

They should be respected and never touched as this can be seen as a sign of aggression.

Mikayla Adams

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