Hammerhead sharks face threats from a variety of natural predators throughout their lifespan. As juveniles, hammerheads fall prey to larger fish species that share their habitats, including barracudas, groupers, and other shark species.
Once fully grown, hammerhead sharks have few threats from predators, though occasional attacks by orcas and other large marine mammals are known to occur. Below is a list of the natural predators of Hammerhead Sharks, mainly before reaching full size:
Barracudas often ambush juvenile hammerheads in shallow coastal waters. Their razor-sharp teeth can overwhelm smaller sharks.
Large grouper species prey on young hammerheads resting in reefs and rocky areas. Their powerful jaws and bursts of speed make them formidable predators.
Other shark species
Larger sharks like bull sharks, tiger sharks, and great white sharks may view juvenile hammerheads as prey. These species outmatch hammerheads in size and strength.
On rare occasions, pods of orcas have been observed hunting adult hammerheads. Orcas’ intelligence and coordinated attacks can overcome even large sharks.
Large marine mammals
Other predators, like large seals and crocodiles, occasionally prey on hammerheads as well.
A hammerhead’s unique head shape is thought to provide improved sensory capabilities to help detect predators early. But despite these adaptations, many young hammerheads fall prey to a wide range of dangerous predators in the open ocean. Only the strongest survive to adulthood.