As everyone knows, La Jolla is filled with Leopard sharks. And no, they’re not dangerous; they’re actually quite friendly. Every year, thousands of leopard sharks gather at the shores of La Jolla. The warm coastal waters are the ideal temperature for incubation. Leopard sharks are amazing creatures that are a lot of fun to swim with during your snorkeling tour. This blog will go over everything you need to know about snorkeling with leopard sharks at La Jolla Shores.
Leopard sharks are one of the most common sharks found along the pacific coast of North America. They can be found from Oregon down to Mazatlán, México. They typically measure 3 to 5 feet in length. They’re beautiful, slender fish with silvery-bronze skin that’s patterned with dark ovals that stretch in a neat row across their back. Large schools of leopard sharks are a common sight on the shores of La Jolla. They are most common near the coast, in waters less than 4 meters (13 feet) deep.
Leopard sharks are known for their beautiful appearance, making them fascinating to look at. Despite being carnivores, they never attack humans. They feed on small benthic and littoral animals, which mainly consists of crabs, shrimp, bony fish (like rockfish, anchovies, and sculpins), fish eggs, fat innkeeper worms, and clams. The leopard shark captures prey by expanding its buccal cavity to create a suction force, much like a vacuum. At the same time, the shark protrudes its jaws forward to grip the prey between its teeth.
What Time of Year Can I See Leopard Sharks at La Jolla?
Leopard sharks are in their largest numbers within the months of June to October. They migrate to La Jolla Shores for their mating season. During the rest of the year, around 100 to 200 local leopard sharks can still be seen. Snorkeling tours to see leopard sharks can be held year-round. These friendly creatures will gladly share water with (respectful) swimmers and snorkelers. Although they can be seen throughout the entire year, the best time to see them is towards the end of the mating season. This is usually within the months of August and September. The ideal time of the day to go is during the day when it’s sunny and the waters are calm. This makes them easier to spot and enjoy their lovely company.
Where is the Best Place to See Leopard Sharks?
Of course, the best place to see leopard sharks is at La Jolla Shores, where the water is shallow and warm. During peak season, you can simply swim out into the water at La Jolla Shores and see them – they will often be really close to the shore. Wade out up to your knees or hips, and you’ll see them swimming around your feet. This can be quite the experience for both swimmers and snorkelers.
Baby leopard sharks are called pups!
A mother leopard shark keeps her eggs inside her body until they hatch. After 10 to 12 months, she gives birth to 7 – 35 pups. Pups are usually around 7 inches (17.8 cm) long.
Leopard sharks are bottom feeders, they are made to feed on the seafloor.
The maximum lifespan of this species is estimated to be around 30 years.
Leopard sharks follow the tide onto mudflats to forage for food.
Snorkeling with Leopard Sharks
The best leopard shark experience you can have is while on a snorkeling tour. San Diego Scuba Guide offers people the best snorkeling experience available in La Jolla Shores. In our snorkeling tours, you can experience the beauty of La Jolla Shores as you snorkel along with a certified guide in one of our 7mm wetsuits. Leopard sharks aren’t the only sea creatures you’ll see! In our La Jolla Cove snorkeling tours, you may have the chance to see beautiful sea life such as California spiny lobsters, garibaldi, sea bass, half-moon, yellowtail, bat rays, guitarfish, and more! We hope this blog helped you learn about snorkeling with leopard sharks at La Jolla Shores. If you want to book a snorkel or scuba tour, click here or call 1-858-397-8213.