Leopard sharks seen hanging out in canals in Venice, California


Venice resident Sheena Duggal captured photos of the sharks three weeks ago.

"It was one of those days where they were flushing water out of the canals, so it was unusually low and unusually clear," said Duggal.

Duggal says she counted four leopard sharks in the canals, each about 2 to 3 feet long.

The sighting certainly has Venice residents talking and speculating whether the sharks are dangerous. But there's no need to worry. Experts say leopard sharks are friendly to both people and animals.

"These are little sharks. They're eating little things. They've got little mouths. They're not aggressive," said Tara Crow, programs director at Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. "They like to come into shallow water. They will be around people and they don't pose any threat at all."

Crow says the sharks likely made their way into the canals through the tidal gates in Marina del Rey, and that's how they will leave when they are ready. But for now, the canals are the perfect home for them with shallow water and plenty to eat.

"The biggest threat to the sharks might be freshwater influx. We're about to get a big rain storm. That might chase them out. They may decide that the fresh water is too much for them and they go back out to the ocean," said Crow.
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