Moment of Science: Tracking Bonnethead sharks in the Edisto River

A Moment of Science

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – During a shark tagging trip with SCDNR, we head out on the Edisto River to learn more about the Bonnethead shark.

A quick glance and these little guys may look like baby hammerheads, but in fact, they are Bonnethead sharks. They are part of the same family, but very different.

Bonnetheads are not considered to be aggressive, they have a shy nature and are considered harmless.

After studying Bonnetheads for the last 10 years, Marine Biologist Bryan Frazier said: “These Bonnetheads that we are studying, they actually have a really high degree of sight fidelity—which means they return to the same river every year.”

Like clockwork, each spring Bonnetheads migrate back to the Edisto River to feed for the summer.

Once our local waters cool down, they move back to Florida and repeat the migration the following spring. 

“Very important for us to know because if something happens in this river, it could actually wipe out a localized population,” said Frazier.

They are an important part of our local ego system, keeping the food chain in balance.

Their diet consists mostly of crustacean, blue crab to be exact, which we have a large number of in our local waters.

They are also the only sharks that are considered to be omnivores, meaning they can eat both meat and plants.

Bonnetheads are just one of about 17 different types of shark off the South Carolina coast.

While tracking these sharks, SCDNR learned Bonnetheads can live more than 18 years. 

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