We’ve been lucky enough to spot a number of blue sharks and hammerhead sharks in the last few weeks, so we thought we’d do some myth busting and see if we can make you love sharks like we do!
Hammerhead sharks, easily distinguishable by their unusual shaped head, might look scary, but they are actually big scaredy cats. They have no interest in us, and are way more likely to be more scared of us than we are of them. There have been zero reports of an attack on a human by a hammerhead shark, because it is practically impossible! The upside down U-shape of their mouth and its position underneath it’s head means that it wouldn’t be able to bite, let alone eat a human. Hammerheads are particularly partial to squid, rays, small fish, and small crustaceans. They tend to eat creatures that are around on the bottom of the ocean, explaining their mouth shape and position!
The shape of their head also is a massive help in finding their prey – all sharks have an incredibly advanced electrosensory system, which they use to detect movements and location of prey, temperature changes in the ocean, and they even use it as a form of navigation. This system is made up of pores mainly on their head and face, so having this system spread out further across the hammer shaped head, they can use this to their advantage to find food in the ocean floor easier and quicker. Having their eyes further apart is also a huge advantage, they have much better vision than most other sharks. They have almost 360-degree vertical vision, although they do have a blind spot directly in front of them, which is why they move their head side to side so much when they swim.
Even though they like to feed in deeper waters, we often see hammerhead sharks cruising along the surface, or in shallower waters. It’s thought that this is so they can warm up in the sun and the warmer shallow water, as they are cold-blooded creatures so can’t warm themselves up like we can. So when we spot them from the boat, they are just enjoying a nice bit of sunbathing.
We have also seen lots of blue sharks in the last few weeks, a smaller relative of the hammerhead. Blue sharks are, as you can probably guess, are a beautiful blue colour, and they have a long, pointy nose.
They also eat squid, small fish and crustaceans, but are also scavengers – they often eat fleshy remains of other animals in the water. They have serrated teeth, making it easier to chew through large chunks of flesh, such as a dead whale body. They are a pelagic species, meaning they are constantly on the move through the water, swimming fairly close to the surface and feeding in deeper water.
It’s long nose and long pectoral fins means the blue shark is a mean swimmer, they can cover huge distances with minimal effort. They are migratory species, constantly on the move from coast to coast, mostly in tropical waters, but in the summer they tend to venture to cooler waters, where we get to see these beauties around the bay!
For the love of sharks!
- Shark Girl