Summer in Southern California marks the return of warm-for-here water (currently the ocean temp is 68F), hoards of tourists, wetsuit-less surfers, and our good buddy Triakis semifasciata.
Despite the fearsome moniker, the leopard shark is mostly harmless.
They swim in the shallowest water (right where the waders and small children are), and despite the scientific community’s insistence that they’re afraid of people, they don’t seem to be particularly fearful.
If fact, I suspect they really like feet.
Should you be wading in shallow water at one of the local beaches and feel something fishy brush against your leg, or step on something that’s smooth and wiggly, it’s important not to panic. It’s just a leopard shark, and I promise it won’t do anything other than annoy you.
What you should not do under any circumstances is what I did today when, while visiting a surprisingly crowded beach, I stepped on a fine specimen of Triakis semifasciata.
I screamed “SHARK!!!!!” while jumping about four feet into the air.
Although I have to admit, the resulting chaos was really funny, even if I did make a lifeguard cry.