A gentle, long living shark
The leopard shark is a member of the houndshark family, and they can live up to 30 years. In fact, they can take almost ten years to fully grow and develop. They are a smaller shark, and rarely grow more than four or five feet, with the heaviest only weighing about 40 pounds.
Leopard sharks are aptly named, since they have dark spots and saddle-type markings, much like a real leopard. They have short, round snouts, and three dorsal fins on their backs. Like the anaconda, they can be quite shy and skittish, and often hide before they can be spotted by divers.
Female leopard sharks give birth to 4-33 live young. Baby leopard sharks are called “pups” and will stay in shallow waters together for a while when they are young.
Leopard sharks feed on the bottom of the ocean and like eating crabs, shrimp, clams and octopus. Their diet can change based on the time of the year and their current size. Sometimes they’ve been known to eat other sharks, but they are harmless to humans.
- Sometimes the leopard shark is referred to as a cat shark.
- They typically live in water that is less than 20 feet deep.
- They can form large schools that contain other types of sharks.
- Leopard sharks have a tooth pattern that is called “pavement-toothed.”
- Leopard pups are about 8 inches long when they are born.
- They often rest on the ocean floor and pump water over their gills.