A-z - Animals

What's a Baby Hammerhead Shark's Name + 4 Facts!

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A baby hammerhead shark is an amazing and unique marine animal. Did you know that certain species of little hammerhead sharks are endangered? Or do hammerhead shark pups have to swim forward to breathe?

Read on to learn five amazing facts about baby hammerhead sharks, and check out some seriously adorable pictures!

#1: Baby hammerhead sharks are called pups!

Small hammerhead shark close-up
Baby hammerhead sharks are called pups!


When you think of the word puppy, puppies are probably the first thing that comes to mind. Or maybe you know baby seals, mice, and even squirrels all by the same name. But did you know that baby hammerhead sharks are called pups? A group of juvenile hammerhead sharks is called a litter, and a group of adult hammerhead sharks is called a school.

#2: Some Hammerhead Shark Pups Endangered

Hammerhead shark baby portrait
Hammerhead shark populations have declined by 80% over the past 25 years.

©Natalya Chernyavskaya/Shutterstock.com

Great hammerhead sharks, smooth hammerhead sharks and scalloped hammerhead sharks are all endangered species. This means they are only two steps away from total extinction. Wild hammerhead shark populations have declined by 80 percent over the past 25 years, scientists say.

Fortunately, conservation efforts are underway to save hammerhead shark pups from extinction. For example, the Australian government passed a law called the EPBC Act to protect vulnerable species from recreational fishing. However, a provision in the bill protects the rights of commercial fishermen to catch hammerhead sharks. This means that despite conservation measures, wild hammerhead sharks continue to be preyed upon from their natural environment.

Conservationists say the best way to protect endangered hammerhead shark pups is to enforce stricter laws. They suggest putting animals first, rather than siding with commercial fishermen for financial gain. After all, commercial fishing is the greatest threat to pups of hammerhead sharks today, with 370 tonnes of hammerhead sharks being taken each year in Australia alone.

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#3: Hammerhead Shark Pups Have Round Heads

baby hammerhead shark
The heads of hammerhead shark pups make it easier for them to exit the birth canal.


Perhaps the most distinctive and iconic feature of the hammerhead shark is its long, flat head. However, baby hammerhead sharks are born with a slightly different head shape. Unlike the broad, flat head of adults, the hammerhead has a slightly rounded head. They were born this way to make it easier to exit the birth canal, scientists say.

Did you know that the head of a hammerhead shark pup has a special name? This is real! The scientific name of this head is cephalosporin. As a baby hammerhead grows, its T-shaped head slowly straightens. Ultimately, it has a wide, flat head that serves a variety of purposes. The primary way a hammerhead uses its head is to defend itself; it's a great weapon!

Defense isn't the only benefit of their unique minds. Hammerhead shark pups also use their heads to find food! They have special sensory organs on their heads called the ampulla of Lorenzini. These organs help them detect the electric fields generated by prey in the ocean around them. This ability, combined with their 360-degree vision up and down, makes them formidable predators.

#4: Baby hammerhead sharks have to move to breathe

Baby hammerhead shark washed ashore
Hammerhead shark pups move water through their gills to get oxygen as they swim.

©Natalya Chernyavskaya/Shutterstock.com

Sharks are fish, not mammals. However, they still need oxygen to survive. Some marine animals, such as whales and manatees, surface to breathe. Sharks, on the other hand, use their gills to extract oxygen from the surrounding air.

Did you know that sharks have to swim forward in order to breathe? This is real! If baby hammerhead sharks are unable to move for more than two or three minutes, they suffocate to death. This is due to the need for a circulatory system in their gills. When they swim, they suck in water through their gills. The oxygen is then picked up by tiny capillaries in their blood, allowing the sharks to "breathe."

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The gill system of baby hammerhead sharks means fishermen's nets are especially dangerous for them. Being caught in a net for more than a few minutes is inevitably fatal to this species. As a result, the Hawaii state legislature is working on a law that would impose fees and fines on anyone who willfully injures a baby hammerhead shark, or any other shark species.

#5: Hammerhead sharks have lots of babies!

Hammerhead Shark Baby School
The average litter size for hammerhead sharks is 20 to 42 pups!

© Copyright EDGAR PHOTOSAPIENS/Shutterstock.com

Can you imagine having 20 to 42 siblings? For baby hammerhead sharks, it's a reality! Female hammerhead sharks usually give birth near warm shorelines during the summer and give birth live. The babies averaged 2.1 feet long and weighed about 6 pounds.

Despite their small size at birth, hammerhead sharks have a lot going on in their development. Depending on their species, they can weigh 500 to 1,000 pounds as adults. The largest hammerhead sharks can grow up to 20 feet long! The smallest species of hammerhead shark is the scallophead shark, and the largest is the great hammerhead shark.


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baby hammerhead shark

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the name of the hammerhead shark?

Baby hammerhead sharks are called pups! They share their small names with many other animals such as baby seals, puppies, and even baby skunks!

How much does a baby hammerhead shark weigh?

Hammerhead shark pups usually weigh about 6 pounds as newborns.

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What do baby hammerhead sharks eat?

Sharks are cold-blooded and do not produce milk to feed their young. This means that the baby hammerhead sharks eat the same meat as their parents. This includes small fish, crustaceans, squid and other sea life.

Where do baby hammerhead sharks live?

Baby hammerhead sharks live in ocean waters all over the world. They prefer warmer regions and like to be close to the coastline. During the calving season in summer, female hammerhead sharks give birth close to the shoreline.

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