Relatives

The bonnethead shark is the smallest member of the hammerhead family. The Sphyrnidae family includes scalloped, great, smooth and small-eyed hammerhead sharks.

Appearance

These sharks have semi-circular shaped heads resembling a shovel or bonnet.

The eyes are located at the ends of the rounded lobes on the flattened head, giving the shark a large field of vision. When the shark swims, it moves its head from side to side.

They range from 2.5 to 4 feet long and weigh up to 24 pounds.

Habitat

These sharks are commonly found in estuaries, shallow bays, mud and sand flats and reef habitats.

Their ranges are the Atlantic Ocean from Carolinas to Brazil and Pacific Ocean from California to Ecuador. They prefer waters above 70 degrees and will migrate to warmer waters.

Feeding

Their diet consists of hard- and soft-shelled prey, such as crab, shrimp, barnacles, small fish, squid and octopus.

These sharks have small sharp teeth in the front of their mouths for eating/grabbing soft prey. Their flat, broad molars in the rear of their mouths are used for crushing and grinding the hard shelled food items.

Behavior

They migrate in schools of hundreds to thousands of sharks to warmer waters in winter and cooler waters in summer.

Bonnethead sharks must swim constantly to get oxygen from the water and to stay afloat.

Predators

Larger sharks are potential predators of the bonnethead shark.