Are Leopard Sharks Dangerous?

Whether you are planning to experience scuba diving, or you are just intrigued by the distinctive patterns upon its body, leopard sharks can be found in the sea off areas such as California and Oregon.

Are Leopard Sharks Dangerous?

Fortunately for us, they are relatively safe to be around humans because we are not something they have upon their menu.

Even so, they can be spooked pretty easily, meaning leopard sharks can disappear within the blink of an eye. 

So, why might people think that a leopard shark is dangerous, and what do they eat? Let’s take a look at these questions in this article.

What are you waiting for? Let’s dive in!

Are Leopard Sharks Dangerous To Be Around Humans?

Leopard sharks might appear to be quite scary, but you might have trouble getting close to one.

They can be spooked quite easily, meaning that even if you are a professional diver, the chances are it will swim away.

Having said that, back in 1955, a diver off Trinidad Bay in California was attacked by a leopard shark. Fortunately, the person was not gravely injured, and survived the attack. 

Since then, there has been very little in the way of recorded leopard shark attacks, and the most positive thing about this, is that there have been no reported deaths from an attack.

Does A Leopard Shark Have A Pattern On Its Body?

An adult leopard shark can grow up to 6 feet in length, making them pretty big – but not the biggest shark.

That award goes to the whale shark which can reach a whopping 60 feet.

The leopard shark has a slender body too which features a leopard-like pattern containing dark spots and patterns.

This makes them rather unique too, to help them stand out from other sharks.

The overall color of a leopard shark is either silver or beige, but this is often covered in the leopard style pattern that we have come to associate with both these sharks and leopards. 

What Is The Habitat Of A Leopard Shark?

If you are wanting to see a leopard shark, then you are likely to find them enjoying the water of the Eastern North Pacific which runs all the way from Oregon, and then along California to Mexico. 

They love to be in warmer waters that provide them with mud and sandy flats, as well as rocky terrain and kelp. You may see them in shallower water. Despite this, they are known as being very strong when it comes to swimming. 

More often than not, they will be in a school with the likes of the piked dogfish, the smoothhound, or the gray type smooth-hound. 

Do People Eat Leopard Sharks?

Like with other shark species, leopard sharks are no exception when it comes to a human’s diet.

That being said, people should not eat too much shark due to the high content of mercury that will be passed onto the person eating the sea mammal.

Because people fish for leopard sharks to be sold fresh or frozen in grocery stores and restaurants, they have become a protected species in both Oregon and California waters to make sure they do not become overfished.

Both those who are considered to be sports anglers, as well as commercial fishermen like to find leopard sharks.

It is a good thing then that they have become protected because of their popularity. 

What Does A Leopard Shark Eat?

Even though you might think that a human is a part of their diet, it is not the case – hence why there are no reports of a leopard shark eating a human.

They tend to eat shrimp, crabs and shellfish, along with fish eggs.

However, even though a human has never been reported to have killed or eaten a human, it does not mean it will never happen.

Afterall, they are wild animals, and sometimes an instinct will naturally kick in, even if that means hurting something for survival. 

Are There Any Threats To Leopard Sharks?

Are There Any Threats To Leopard Sharks?

Despite the fact they are a protected species to avoid them from becoming overfished (which will lead to the possibility of extinction), they are generally considered to be of ‘least concern’. 

Even so, this does not mean that they do not have daily threats.

Because they swim close to the shoreline, they are quite easy to fish. This means they are often caught by those who fish recreationally.

Not only that, just like with a lot of other sharks they are threatened by poachers who seek out their body parts, such as fins. 

Also, humans are generally ruining the habitats of wild animals which in turn causes a species to decline.

Also, if their food is no longer available (a certain fish becomes extinct or hard to find), the leopard shark will also decline in numbers. 

What Are The Most Dangerous Species Of Sharks?

Leopard sharks are far from dangerous, especially compared to the likes of the great white shark, the tiger shark, and the bull shark.

Whilst there are no records of a leopard shark killing a human, these three have been known to cause a vast number of fatalities.

Whilst there are more than 500 shark species in the world, the majority of them can become aggressive and are best avoided altogether. 

Final Thoughts

Whilst you might immediately assume that anything that is considered a shark is dangerous to humans, a leopard shark does not pose much of a threat to a human. 

Even so, just like with any wild creature, you will always have to be cautious around them in case they become spooked.

If they do, then there is a rare chance that they might attack, just because they are protecting themselves.

More often than not however, they will just swim away because they are likely to be more afraid of you. 

They are fascinating creatures, just like everything else that swims in the sea.

For more information on wild animals, check out the rest of our website for interesting facts.

Mikayla Adams

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