What do Leopard Sharks Eat

If you want to name a shark species out of all that you can say that won’t harm you, it is the leopard shark. Leopard sharks are welcoming and inoffensive to humans, but that does not at all mean that you incite them with inappropriate behavior. Regarded as the friendliest shark, you might want to see one and bring it home, but before that, do you know what leopard sharks eat?

It is yet the most important thing to know; after all, without food, there is no survival. In general, sharks are known to eat other marine creatures or rely on plankton, but with over 500 species of sharks, each one has its own food preferences. The same goes for the leopard sharks.

So, before you make assumptions, let’s get to know a bit more about this fascinating creature, the leopard shark, and what their diet consists of. 

Everything you need to know about Leopard shark

Leopard sharks are common in North America’s Pacific coast and are distinguished by their striking patterns of black saddle-like motifs and large spots all over their back. Leopard sharks are so named due to their unique pattern of designs on their skin.

Unlike other species, leopard sharks are known to live in a particular area rather than traveling long distances frequently. Their natural habitat is near coasts, where the depth of the water is less than 13 feet.

Check out how deep a shark can go underwater?

The fact that they do not harm humans makes them a favorite of tourists and locals alike during the summer season, and they enjoy swimming while exploring the ocean world. If you were wondering if a person can swim with sharks, with leopard sharks, it becomes a reality. 

Talking about the physical characteristics, aside from the illustrious dark spots, the leopard shark has a rounded snout, large and oval eyes, triangular pectoral fins, and two large dorsal fins. On average, adult leopard sharks measured between 4 and 5 feet long, whereas the female grew slightly larger. Weight-wise, it weighs about 22 pounds, and the highest recorded weight is said to be 40 pounds.

With an estimated lifespan of 30 years, the male leopard shark reaches maturity at the age of 8-13 years, whereas the female reaches maturity at the age of 10-15 years.

Leopard sharks diet

While leopard sharks can be social with each other, they can also form a cooperative relationships with other shark species. Similarly, when it comes to feeding behavior, leopard sharks are quite unique. This species will travel through some pretty perilous terrain in search of food. Because of this behavior, they can eat animals that are normally inaccessible.  

But what do leopard sharks actually eat? Well, their diet consists of anything that fits into their mouth.

There are 41–55 upper dental rows and 34–45 lower dental rows. Having a relatively small mouth, leopard sharks use suction to seize prey. To grip the prey between its teeth, the shark extends its jaws forward and grabs the target.

With that said, leopard sharks prefer specific types of prey based on where they live, mostly the prey that is present in large quantities. In this manner, they have plenty of food available.

Whatsoever, the leopard sharks come into a category of omnivorous and eat a wide variety of marine creatures. While swimming along the seafloor, they will pick up crabs, shrimp, fish eggs, squid, clam siphons, and other small bottom-dwelling organisms. Their food choice also includes eating bony fish, worms, octopuses, and bat rays.

Aside from the location where the sharks live, the season, age, and body size also matter when it comes to what do leopard sharks eat. For example, as they grow older, they tend to rely more on fish whereas, in the early days, they eat more crustaceans.

Can you keep a leopard shark as a pet?

Given that the leopard sharks are among the friendliest creatures, do they prove to be a good pet too? Their size is relatively small as compared to other species, and due to this, people often think of keeping the leopard shark in home aquariums.

Though it’s true these species of sharks are not dangerous to humans, they are not the best fit to keep as pets. Despite their small size, they need enough space to swim around freely and also require you to take care of their requirements.

However, there are many other species of sharks that are the best fit for home aquariums. Check out the names here.


Leopard sharks are usually seen in shallow waters, recognized for the pattern on their skin. They have a wide-ranging diet and will eat whatever they can trap in their mouths. They can eat small crayfish and other sharks, but they will also eat squid and octopus. Their diet also changes as they grow and mature.

About the author

Yumna Ahmad

An experienced content writer, photographer, and avid reader amazed by the sea world and its creatures. I am lettin people become fascinated with the ocean planet through my writings.