Marine Talk: Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

Photo credit: Michael Aw
Photo credit: Michael Aw

Hi there, my name is the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark and no, I’m not good with nails, stop asking me this question. You do not want to get on my nerves.

That said, I know I do have a unique appearance and honestly, I like it very much. With my eyes located at both ends of my head, I have a 360 degree visual view, which comes in handy whenever I hunt. My hammer-shaped head spreads out the ampullae of Lorenzini, special sensing organs also known as electroreceptors. They enable me to sense electric fields in the water, for instance, the heartbeat of a prey hiding under the seabed. Nothing gets away from me.

Speaking of hunting, I prefer hunting in big schools, sometimes in the hundreds.  What? I’m a bully? No, I’m just a believer of strength in numbers, who doesn’t anyway? By the way, I’m a big boy myself as I can even grow up 6m long.

My favourite nosh? Sardines, mackerel, herring, squids and even smaller species of sharks and rays. I usually hammer them into submission. Haha!

Oh and I’m ovoviviparous, meaning that our babies develop inside eggs that stays within the mother’s abdomen. This pregnancy may last between 9 to 10 months, very similar to you humans. But unlike you, we give birth to between 15 and 30 pups.

You might think that we have a healthy population, given the number of pups born at a single time. But alas, we are endangered due to the demand of my fins. I heard shark’s fin soup is a Chinese delicacy. I personally think otherwise; what’s so nice about my cartilaginous fins? I don’t understand humans – you can quote me. Sometimes you guys eat things without even thinking.

I hang out with my shark pals daily and occasionally some humans take a dip in my tank to see me up close, albeit surrounded by an acrylic panel. Don’t worry, I won’t bite, unless you crack more hammer jokes or touch my fins.

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