A SMALL hammerhead shark (see video below) was spotted by the marine branch of the Royal Gibraltar Police off Sandy Bay on Friday, August 5, causing red flags to be raised and prompting police to warn bathers to be “extremely cautious.”
The animal is estimated to be around 1.6 metres long and unless there is something wrong with it, it is unlikely to approach the shore, while police are liaising with lifeguards on the east side.
The two largest species of hammerhead shark are both found in the Med, but it is unclear whether the individual pictured is a young smooth hammerhead, which can grow to five metres in length, or great hammerhead, which tops out at six metres, although most specimens are considerably smaller.
They rarely attack humans and are not considered among the more dangerous species such as the great white, tiger, or bull sharks, but the juvenile’s mere presence near Gibraltar is likely to bring out a cold sweat in local bathers.
Humans appear to have an innate fear of sharks, despite the odds of being killed by one of the pelagic predators standing at an unlikely 1 in 264.1 million.