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Leopard Sharks at La Jolla Shores

August 23, 2012 | By | Reply More


Leopard sharks and hot weather have brought large numbers of visitors to La Jolla Shores Beach this month.

It’s been a busy August. Leopard sharks at La Jolla Shores Beach have attracted record numbers of visitors. The harmless sharks appear every summer, but there were more of them than usual this year. In addition, the hot weather (ok, not hot by Phoenix standards) drew crowds of locals and vacationers looking for a spot to cool off.

Some folks waded in the shallow water at the south end of the beach to see the sharks. Others kayaked, but most put on snorkel gear and swam around looking for them. No one was in danger of being eaten alive. The sharks prefer clams, shrimp, crabs, and fish eggs. (Actually, sunburn was a greater danger than shark bites, so I hope that everyone was practicing safe sun.)

Adult leopard sharks can reach up to 6 feet in length. They get their name from their markings – dark spots on a gray background – that look similar to a leopard. The pregnant females come to La Jolla Shores every summer for the warm water that helps them birth their pups. The spawning season lasts until October.

More Marine Life

In addition to leopard sharks, an unusual number of stingrays have been hanging around the Shores. Don’t worry about these guys either. If you let them know you’re there, they’ll leave. That’s why everyone entering the water is encouraged to shuffle their feet back and forth on the ocean floor to give them a warning. This move is known as the “stingray shuffle.”

If you do get barbed by a stingray, contact the life guards immediately and soak the affected area in hot soapy water.  

Lifeguards treat jellyfish stings with rubbing alcohol and sea water.

Jellyfish have also been a nuisance this summer. I’ve seen them almost every time I’ve walked on the beach for the past couple of months. It isn’t a problem for me (wearing shoes), but lots of swimmers have been stung. When my nephew emerged from the ocean with a red patch on his belly, we took him to the lifeguards. They applied rubbing alcohol and told him to get back in the water because salt water deactivates the stinging cells.

He was happy to comply.

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Category: snorkeling, Wildlife

About the Author ()

I live in La Jolla and I'm a travel writer, so in addition to enjoying my home town's great weather, beautiful surroundings, and range of cultural and recreational options, I also see La Jolla - and the rest of San Diego - as a travel destination. And what I see sometimes drives me batty. People vacation in La Jolla, but don't take advantage of everything our community offers, so I decided to start this blog and provide insider advice for out-of-towners. Hey. I figure if I can write insider tips about exotic destinations on Authentic Luxury Travel, I ought to be able to lead readers off the beaten path that starts just outside my front door. In the process, I'm having fun revisiting my favorite places and discovering some new ones. Travel writers are naturally snoopy, and this blog is my excuse to have a good ol' sticky beak around my home town. I hope you find it helpful. If you are coming to La Jolla or another area of San Diego and would like my help in planning your trip, please read "Need Help Planning Your Trip" and then email me at ehansen298@aol.com. Elizabeth Hansen

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