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Are There Hammerhead Sharks In Florida: Where Do They Live?

Great Hammerhead Shark - Are there hammerhead sharks in Florida

Depending on why you would like to know if there are hammerhead sharks in Florida, will depend on if you end up happy after reading this article. There are two main types of hammerhead sharks in the oceans, which are the scalloped hammerhead and the great hammerhead, but you may not be interest in the types of hammerheads and just want to know; are there hammerhead sharks in Florida?

Hammerhead sharks live in Florida including great hammerhead sharks and scalloped hammerheads. Great hammerhead sharks can be found patrolling Florida’s beaches for food, which includes blacktip sharks. Whilst hammerheads come close to humans on Florida’s beaches, it’s rare they attack people.

The best way to do more diving is to book yourself on a scuba diving liveaboard. If you want to see hammerhead sharks, you may like to dive with a liveaboard to the Cocos Islands from Costa Rica. You can check the latest and best deals on liveaboards to the Cocos Islands using the following window:

If you are like me, then you’ll be excited at the prospect of seeing hammerhead sharks in Florida.

You may also be interested in great white sharks as well as in hammerhead sharks, and where these can be discovered too. If you are, then please take a read of this article: Where to find great white sharks. The places that surprised me the most were Florida Keys and the great white shark spotted by a snorkeler on the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. But you may also like to read about great white sharks in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico too.

Where do hammerhead sharks live in Florida?

Great hammerhead sharks in Florida tend to live in South Florida, but are found from Jacksonville to Key West in the South, and then up the west coast to Clearwater Beach and beyond. They live in the open ocean and the shallow coastal waters of both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts of Florida.

Where can I see hammerheads in Florida?

One of the best places to see hammerheads is off Palm Beach Florida during the black tip shark migration from mid-January for about two months every year. You may be luck to spot large great hammerheads hunting the blacktips as they migrate south (see video below).

The black tip migration begins round December time, and these large schools of blacktip sharks slowly migrate south towards Miami and further south to the Florida Keys and warmer waters. Which means at different times during this blacktip migration, you might be luck to see feeding hammerheads in different locations along the Atlantic east coast of Florida.

If you are a scuba diver, you are more likely to see hammerhead sharks diving off the Keys during the summer months. But you can see hammerheads diving in Palm Beach.

In the following video you see scuba divers with great hammerheads in Palm Beach.

Hammerhead Beach ~ Florida Scuba Divers
Hammerhead Sharks are plentiful in this new area in Palm Beach

You can also see hammerheads in Pensacola, FL as seen in this video of hammerheads in the shallows off the beach.

Memorial Day Weekend Beachgoers Circled By Sharks Off Florida Beach – in this case a great hammerhead

What type of hammerheads live in Florida

Florida is home to the solitary living great hammerhead sharks and to scalloped hammerheads that tend to live in schools. Both of the hammerhead shark species live on the east and west coasts of the Florida panhandle, but more are found in south Florida.

Group of Hammerhead Sharks Florida
Shot with Florida Shark Diving during a shark diving charter. This is a group of Scalloped Hammerheads.

Are hammerhead sharks endangered in Florida?

The hammerhead sharks in Florida were put on the critically endangered list in 2019, as hammerheads, along with other shark species, are being killed in huge numbers for their fins. The problem is made worse for hammerhead sharks, as they breed so infrequently, which is once every two years. search Costa Rica scroll

Do hammerhead sharks attack people?

Hammerhead sharks will only attack people if provoked, but they don’t actively seek out humans as prey. Hammerhead sharks are aggressive hunters like all sharks, but they feed on other sharks, small fish, octopuses, rays and squid.

If you want proof they don’t attack people, please watch this video of a great hammerhead shark in Florida swimming around a swimmer in the shallows on a Florida beach. You’ll notice the large hammerhead circles the man, who is oblivious to the shark’s presence, but then swims away when it realises he isn’t its normal prey.

Hammerhead shark story: This question about do hammerhead sharks attack people, reminds me of when I was swimming in off a beach in South Africa in beautiful Plettenburg Bay. I was staying in a great little bed and breakfast overlooking the bay, and as I was drinking my morning tea I noticed a pod of about 50 dolphins playing just off the beach.

I finished my tea and rushed down to the beach and swam out to the dolphins. To my surprise the dolphins came to me and swam around me, which made my day. As I was enjoying the dolphin experience, I noticed a microlight flying above me over the beach, but I didn’t think much more about this, even though he flew back and forth a few times.

However, later that day I went on a shore dive with a group of people, and at the end of the dive we went for a beer to chat about the dive and other stuff. I happened to recount my story of swimming with the dolphins that morning, when one of the group said “that was you in the water with the dolphins?” He then proceeded to tell me how I had been surrounded by hammerhead sharks. But the moral of the story is that, despite being surrounded by hammerheads just off the beach, none of them attacked me. My only thought at the time was how disappointed I was not to have taken my mask and snorkel with me, so I could have seen the hammerhead sharks.”

Huge hammerhead shark circles clueless swimmer in Florida

You may then want to watch the following video of another even bigger great hammerhead shark filmed hunting blacktip sharks off the beaches in Florida.

Notice how fast this hammerhead shark can move when in attack mode, which goes to show that the man in the above video didn’t stand a chance, had the hammerhead shark wanted to attack him.

Giant Hammerhead Sharks Hunting Blacktip Sharks 3
For the third straight year, we have had the privilege of filming giant hammerhead sharks hunting blacktip sharks off the beaches in Florida

What is the size of a hammerhead shark?

The longest ever recorded great hammerhead shark was 6.1 metres (20 feet) in length, and weighed 450kg (991lbs). Scalloped hammerhead sharks are the smaller of the species and grow to around 4.3 metres (14 ft) with a maximum weight of 152kg (340lb).

Before you go, you may be as fascinated as I was when I found out what fish eat sharks. In this article there are three amazing videos of other fish eating sharks whole: What Fish Can Eat Sharks, for me it’s the first video I was most amazed at.

I hope you enjoyed this page about Are there hammerhead sharks in Florida

If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about Are there hammerhead sharks in Florida), please comment below with your questions.

Please share your experiences, plus dive sites, resorts and liveaboards you recommend. Share the time of year of your trip together with what you saw, the visibility, currents and dive operator, as this will help others who read this page.

There will also be many more pages and articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkelling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.

Have fun and be safe!

Are There Hammerhead Sharks In Florida: Where Do They Live?

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been a scuba diver since diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 1989. After his first dive he trained as a BSAC diver in the UK. He attained his Diver Leader certification with BSAC. He then went on to become a scuba diving instructor, teaching others how to dive and was voted as Diving Officer and Treasurer for the Saffron Walden BSAC club too. Russell has dived all over the world, including the UK, on liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean, South Africa and the USA. Russell is experienced in all dive types, including drift diving, deep dives that involved decompression stops and recreational dives too.

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