Hammerhead Shark Shark Bites


Hammerhead Shark

Steve Backshall meets the hammerhead shark, which some seriously super senses. Steve reveals how it detects dinner like a metal detector finds treasure.


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Transcript


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My name's Steve Backshall.

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Self-confessed shark obsessed.

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This is Shark Bites.

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This time, we meet a shark with supersenses - the hammerhead.

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With its bizarrely shaped skull, it's truly distinctive,

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and its wide head hides a supercharged sense.

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Like all sharks, they have a sixth sense of finely tuned

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electroreceptors to detect their dinner.

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But being supercharged means hammerheads discover prey

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better than other sharks, even if it's hidden from sight.

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But how is it able to track down food with pinpoint accuracy?

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The warm waters in the Bahamas are the perfect place to see

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this supershark in action.

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And it wasn't long before one found us.

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This is one of the most awesome creatures in the sea!

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I don't believe it. It's a great hammerhead.

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You can instantly see how different it is.

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That hammer-shaped head is absolutely incredible.

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Their wide-set eyes give them almost 360 degrees of vision,

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helping them spot fast-moving prey like fish and squid.

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But it's their sensitive head that sets them apart from other sharks.

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That hammer-shaped head spreads out the electrical receptors...

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..so that the hammerhead can sense its prey from all different angles.

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When hunting some creatures, like rays hiding under the sand,

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they use this extra sense to their advantage.

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The hammerhead's remarkable head is kind of a bit like a metal detector.

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All living things give off an electrical field. I am now.

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The shark's head is covered in tiny electroreceptors which sense

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these electrical fields. They're called the ampullae of Lorenzini.

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A big great hammerhead's head could be a metre in width from eye to eye.

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This gives them more space for those ampullae compared to other

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species of sharks, making them much more accurate

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at scanning the seabed for food.

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Sweeping back and forth, they search for a signal

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and discover their bounty like a marine metal detector.

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The hammerhead shark, with its distinctive head,

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pinpoint accuracy,

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the ability to discover hidden prey.

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This is truly a shark packed full of supersenses.

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Steve Backshall meets the hammerhead shark, a shark with some seriously super senses. He dives alongside one in the warm waters of the Bahamas before heading to his shark lab to reveal how their bizarrely shaped head allows them to detect electrical fields given off by their prey.