As scuba divers, we have a unique appreciation of sharks. We see how graceful they swim underwater, how curious they are, and we get to understand first hand their vital role in our ocean ecosystem.
One of the most beautiful of the over 400 species of sharks is the Leopard Shark and they are found right here in our temperate California waters. Leopard Sharks get their common name from being conspicuously covered with dark saddles and splotches. While they do have teeth capable of puncturing human skin, Leopard Sharks’ teeth are more like flattened and ridged bone used for crushing their favorite invertebrate food like crab and shrimp. Although they also sometimes like to dine on small fish like sanddabs.
Female Leopard Sharks give live birth that the can produce litters of up to 4 to 33 pups. We are extremely fortunate because hundreds of Leopards Sharks regularly chose the warm shallow waters of La Jolla Shores in San Diego to aggregate and give birth every summer.
August is the best time to grab your mask, snorkel and fins and go snorkeling and free diving with these beautiful sharks. The best chance of seeing them is in the afternoon right off the Marine Room Restaurant where the waves are the gentlest, in about 10-15 feet of water over the sandy bottom. Do not bring your scuba gear as these docile creatures do not like the sound of bubbles and try not to splash too much as you might scare them away. Don't forget your scuba certification:)