Flesh Eating “Mini Sharks” Are Plaguing California Beachgoers

Going to the beach is a lovely way to pass the time. People travel from all over to experience the beaches along the West Coast, and California is full of spots that locals and tourists alike swarm to for a fun time.

Families can enjoy building sandcastles and playing in the surf, while others might try their hand at surfing, boogie boarding, skim boarding, and more!

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It’s all fun and games until flesh-eating insects attack your feet, that is.

People in California are reportedly being targeted by flesh-eating bugs nicknamed “mini sharks” due to their ferocious appetite for human flesh.

The bugs were identified as water-line isopods (excirolana chiltoni).

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to Walla Walla University in Washington, the bugs may be just 0.3inches long, but they can swarm in groups of thousands.

Despite their tiny size, they have power in numbers and can do enough damage to leave unfortunate beachgoers with bloody feet and toes.


The university said, “Very few crustaceans will actually bite you but this nasty little creature is definitely one of them. Barefoot waders in an area with Excirolana will find that the animals quickly swim toward and swarm over bare feet, biting them so hard that blood will be flowing within moments. Since the animals are so small the bites are tiny but painful like a pin prick, and the animals are often present in swarms of thousands. Rapidly shuffling the feet reduces but does not eliminate the number of bites.”

The “mini sharks” migrate up the West Coast, ranging from British Columbia to Half-Moon Bay in California.


According to Fox News, beachergoers in California have been targeted by the bugs, and people who suffer their attacks describe the bites as being “painful” and “surprising.”

While shuffling your feet may help reduce the number of bites you experience, the best way to prevent being bitten is to wear protective feet coverings when on the beach or in shallow water. Water shoes can help protect your toes and feet, while taller water or rain boots will also protect your ankles.

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