Whether or not leopard sharks are dangerous to scuba divers is a controversial topic. Some people believe that these sharks are not dangerous, while others believe that they can be dangerous if they feel threatened. There is no definitive answer, but it is important to be aware of the potential risks before diving with leopard sharks.
What is a Leopard Shark?
Leopard sharks are a type of houndshark, in the family Triakidae. They get their common name from the typical leopard-like patterning on their dorsal (top) side, which acts as camouflage in sandy bottomed areas where they like to hunt for food. These sharks are relatively small, growing to a maximum length of just over 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in).
Are Leopard Sharks Dangerous to Scuba Divers?
No, leopard sharks are not dangerous to scuba divers. These shy animals are more interested in eating small fish and invertebrates than they are in people. In fact, they are often used as “model sharks” in scientific research because they are so easy to work with.
How to Avoid Leopard Shark Attacks
Although leopard sharks are not known to be aggressive towards humans, there have been a few documented cases of leopard sharks biting scuba divers. In order to avoid being attacked by a leopard shark, it is important to follow some simple safety guidelines.
- Do not touch or harass a leopard shark. If you are in the water with a leopard shark, keep your hands to yourself and do not try to touch the animal.
- Do not block a leopard shark’s path. If you are swimming and a leopard shark is swimming towards you, do not try to block its path. Move out of the way so that the shark can swim past you.
- Do not wear shiny jewelry. Leopard sharks are attracted to shiny objects, so it is best to avoid wearing any jewelry that may shine in the water.
- Be aware of your surroundings. When you are in an area where there may be leopard sharks, pay attention to your surroundings and be on the lookout for any sharks that may be nearby.
How to Respond to a Leopard Shark Attack
The best way to avoid being attacked by a leopard shark is to stay aware of your surroundings and not provoke the animal. If you are diving in an area known to have leopard sharks, avoid swimming too close to them or trying to touch them. If a leopard shark does attack, the best thing you can do is try to calm yourself and swim away slowly. Do not splash or make sudden movements, as this will only agitate the animal further. In the rare event that a leopard shark does bite, always seek medical attention as soon as possible. Although their bites are not typically fatal, they can still cause serious injury.
After doing some research, we have come to the conclusion that leopard sharks are not dangerous to scuba divers. While they may be curious and approach divers out of curiosity, they are not aggressive and are not known to attack humans. If you are ever in the presence of a leopard shark, it is best to just observe from a distance and refrain from touching or disturbing them.