Hammerhead Shark Skull
The skull of the Hammerhead is quite unique amongst the sharks, as it has what is known as a “cephalofoil” shape. This gives it a very unique and distinctive appearance.
The Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) is the largest of the Hammerhead sharks, growing up to 20 feet in length (6.1 metres).
The skull itself is quite a difficult one to clean, as its nostrils and eyes are recessed deep in the skull, and pose a challenge to remove all the surrounding tissue.
THE CLEANING PROCESS
Once the head is rinsed thoroughly of all blood, the start of dissection commences, taking particular care to remove the tissue in a slicing rather than cutting motion, as this could easily damage the underlying cartilage of the skull. Once all the skin has been removed, then the removal of muscle and other tissue can commence. Usually, for a large skull, this could take up to 4hrs to do.
Once the skull is dried, the final touches to it will be carried out, including repairing any cracks in the cartilage, sanding out uneven spots, and repairing any areas around the jaw. Depending on the client’s directive, any teeth that need to be replaced, will be done.
The skull can be mounted in a number of ways, depending on what the client wants and where they intend to put it. Usually, a stainless steel rod is shaped at a 90-degree angle, inserted into the vertebral column, and then the base is screwed into a Spotted Gum wooden base, which really highlights the contrast between the white skull and the wood. Mounting is at an additional cost and is calculated based on the clients requirements.
AUSTRALIA & INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING
Hammerhead sharks are all CITES, which means an export permit needs to be acquired prior to it being shipped out of Australia. CITES is the governing legislation which deals with the international trade of endangered species. The Great Hammerhead, although protected, can be legally caught in Australia, however only by certain government approved fisheries.
Elasmo-Morph only buys from such fishery companies and therefore I am able to acquire the required CITES paperwork. The permit can take up to 6 weeks to be issued and then it will be another 2-3 weeks before the skull is packaged up and sent to the client.
Depending on the size of the skull, a special crate might need to be built for it to be transported safely internationally.