Smooth Hammerhead: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Amazing smooth hammerhead shark facts to learn more about this species.

The hammerhead sharks have an extraordinarily structured head that resembles a hammer, the two outward expansions on their heads are called cephalofoil. The genus Sphyrna comprises most of the hammerhead sharks, including the smooth hammerhead sharks, scalloped hammerhead sharks, great hammerhead sharks, and others. The smooth hammerhead is also contemplated as one of the enormous hammerhead shark species as it is the second largest. They are called smooth hammerheads because of the absence of indentation in the center. The ‘zygaena’ from their scientific name Sphyrna zygaena is derived from the Greek word ‘zygò’ which means ‘yoke’. Their geographical distribution range covers the region of the Atlantic and the Pacific ocean. These sharks can be potentially dangerous to humans at times.

To know more about this Hammerhead species keep reading this article as more interesting facts are states below. For more relatable content, check out these Caribbean reef shark facts and longnose gar facts for kids.

Smooth Hammerhead

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Bony fishes, cephalopods, barnacles, stingrays, sharks, rays

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

20-50 pups

How much do they weigh?

880 lb (400 kg)

How long are they?

98.4-137.8 in (250-350 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Dark gray or olive-brown

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Commercial fishing

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them



Atlantic and Pacific Ocean





Scientific Name

Sphyrna zygaena





Smooth Hammerhead Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a smooth hammerhead?

According to the description of their name, this is the species of shark with hammer shape head that prefers living in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

What class of animal does a smooth hammerhead belong to?

The smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) belongs to the class Chondrichthyes and the family Sphyrnidae.

How many smooth hammerheads are there in the world?

It is vulnerable species but the total number is not listed.

Where does a smooth hammerhead live?

The geographical distribution range of the smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) includes the Atlantic where it can be observed near the regions of Nova Scotia, the Virgin Islands, Brazil, and south of Argentina. In the east, it includes Côte d'Ivoire, British Isles, and the Mediterranean Sea. In the western Pacific, they prevail in the Gulf of Tonkin, Australia, and New Zealand, other than these regions they are observed in other territories as well.

What is a smooth hammerhead's habitat?

The tropical and temperate water is their ideal habitat and they are found primarily within this distribution zone where they have adequate prey like rays and other sea creatures. This fish prefers dwelling near the shallow water that has a depth of 79 in (200 cm).

Who do smooth hammerheads live with?

The smooth hammerheads are extremely migratory and during their migration, they form schools.

How long does a smooth hammerhead live?

The average lifespan of the smooth hammerhead shark is 20-30 years.

How do they reproduce?

The process of reproduction is sexual as the males transfer the sperm to the females through their claspers. The females are viviparous and the gestation period can be around 10-11 months after that the female give birth to 20-50 pups.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the smooth hammerhead is Vulnerable according to the IUCN because of the commercial fishers who catch them for their fins, as shark fin is considered to be very valuable.

Smooth Hammerhead Fun Facts

What do smooth hammerheads look like?

The mid-dorsal fin is absent in the smooth hammerhead sharks.
*Please note that this is an image of a hammerhead shark, not a smooth hammerhead. If you have an image of a smooth hammerhead shark, please let us know at

The smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena), which can be observed in tropical and temperate seas, is the second-largest hammerhead shark species. The length of their body is 98.4-137.8 in (250-350 cm) and the maximum it can grow is 197 in (500 cm) weighing approximately 880 lb (400 kg). The cephalofoil of this species distinguishes it from the rest of the fishes, unlike the scalloped or great hammerheads their cephalofoil is wide, small, and curved with no indention. The color of this species can range from olive to brownish-gray on the dorsal region and the ventral region is white. Towards the end of the cephalofoil their nostrils are situated, the upper jaw of this species consists of 26-32 tooth rows while the lower jaw has 25-30 and the teeth are extremely sharp and triangular just like the teeth of other sharks. The fins present on these species are one of the major purposes of catching them, the first dorsal fin is sickle-shaped, unlike the pectoral fins and the pelvic fins which are comparatively straight. The fin of this shark is a crucial ingredient of the shark fin soup which is a popular Chinese delicacy.

How cute are they?

The smooth hammerhead is very intimidating and not cute.

How do they communicate?

Smooth hammerhead sharks form schools during their migration. They also have specialized sensory cells inside their head to sense and locate other fishes particularly their prey.

How big is a smooth hammerhead?

This species of hammerhead sharks are the second-largest sharks, as the great hammerheads are the largest with an average length of 181 in (460 cm) unlike the smooth hammerhead where the male has an approximate length of 98.4-102.4 in (250-260 cm) and the length of female is 104.3 in (265 cm).

How fast can a smooth hammerhead swim?

The smooth hammerhead shark is an effective swimmer that can be found in the shallow water of the Atlantic and prey on various marine creatures, as their diet includes sharks and rays for which they have to be very quick. It is listed that the hammerhead sharks can swim just 1 mph (1.6 kph).

How much does a smooth hammerhead weigh?

The smooth hammerheads are massive sharks with hammer-shaped heads and the approximate weight of this fish is not summarized but the maximum weight recorded is 880 lb (400 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males and females of this species do not have any specific names listed.

What would you call a baby smooth hammerhead?

The smooth hammerhead sharks are viviparous and give birth to 20-50 pups. The birthplace of the pups is near the shallow coastal areas, like the coastal area of North Carolina. The pups are 20–24 in (50.8–61 cm) when they are born, which usually takes place between January-March.

What do they eat?

The smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) is a major predator and they prey on many marine creatures including its kind. However, they prey on stingrays, barnacles, bony fishes, small sharks, and rays. This species also prey on crustaceans and in Northern Europe they prey on seabass. Their diet also consists of Spanish mackerel in the North American region.

Are they dangerous?

There are many occasions when this species of hammerhead shark has proved to be potentially dangerous to humans. This large hammerhead that inhabits the sea has attacked people 34 times according to a survey in 2018, and out of the 34 attacks, only one attack was fatal. They are seen in the temperate seas where they do not encounter by many swimmers.

Would they make a good pet?

The exportation of this species of shark is not legal and it is protected in countries like the US and Brazil. Moreover, this fish is huge and not suitable as a pet.

Did you know...

Although the smooth hammerhead sharks are found in the sea, occasionally they may come into the freshwater habitat like the Indian river of the US.

What is the difference between a smooth hammerhead and a hammerhead shark?

The smooth hammerhead sharks are a type of hammerhead shark just like the great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, Carolina hammerhead, scooped hammerhead, and small-eyed hammerhead. The smooth hammerhead sharks are closely related to the great hammerhead also known as Mokarran than any of the shark species, however, they can be distinguished on various grounds so here are a few smooth hammerhead vs great hammerhead facts. The Mokarran are the largest species amongst the hammerheads and have an approximate length of 181 in (460 cm) while smooth hammerheads are the second largest. The great hammerhead shark has an indention in the center of its head which gives the cephalofoila more of a T-shape while the cephalofoil of smooth hammerheads is more spherical. The smooth hammerhead sharks remain close to the surface of the water than the great hammerhead and few other hammerhead species.

Are smooth hammerheads endangered?

The smooth hammerhead sharks are the victims of commercial fisheries, frequently they are accidentally caught and other times they are caught intentionally because of their valuable shark fin. All these practices have an impact on their population and their population started declining in its distribution range. The smooth hammerhead shark is listed as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN and exporting them without authorization is not legal.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our reef shark facts and blacktip shark facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable smooth hammerhead coloring pages.



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