Feet-eating ‘mini sharks’ terrorise Californians

By Alma Fabiani

Published Sep 8, 2022 at 10:58 AM

Reading time: 1 minute

Swarms of tiny but very aggressive “mini shark” sea bugs have been targeting beach-goers in Southern California. Their go-to delicacy? Human feet.

The bugs have been identified as water-line isopods (also known as Excirolana chiltoni), a crustacean species that grows to be around 0.3 inches (0.8 centimetres) long and can form swarms of more than 1,000 individuals. A fish pedicure on steroids, basically.

The sea creatures have been nicknamed “mini sharks” for their bite, which has been described by victims as being “painful” and “surprising.” Those attacked also noted how, even though the pain faded after a span of 15 to 20 minutes, their feet and ankles looked like they had been gnawed at by a group of tiny piranhas.

The bugs quickly find barefoot individuals and will bite into their flesh, drawing blood. Since the animals are so small, the bites are tiny but painful like a pinprick. On these terms, experts advise rapidly shuffling one’s feet to reduce the number of bites.

If, like us, you’re terrified about potentially encountering the species on your morning swim, write this down: the sea bugs live in the shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean and seasonally migrate up and down the coast—leaving in their wake a wave of beach-goers hopping in pain.

Here’s another ‘fun’ fact: their ability to quickly strip flesh from other animals can make them a pest. They can damage fish cultivated in net pen fish farms and can hinder the work of forensic pathologists with regard to drowned victims.

Honestly, we’re not sure which is worse—these “mini sharks” attacking you by the thousands or an actual full-grown shark walking up to you on the beach?

Keep On Reading

By Abby Amoakuh

From Disney star to space start-up CEO, here’s everything you need to know about Bridgit Mendler

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Former Cloudflare employee Brittany Pietsch goes viral after filming brutal firing process

By Charlie Sawyer

Ryan Gosling teases potential 2024 Oscar performance of I’m Just Ken

By Alma Fabiani

Rebel Wilson reveals member of Royal family invited her to lose virginity in drug-fuelled orgy

By Abby Amoakuh

Father of man who died after climbing into airplane engine reveals why he thinks he did it

By Charlie Sawyer

Are UK-based citizens actually going to be forced into mandatory conscription?

By Abby Amoakuh

Everything you need to know about Taylor Swift’s new album The Tortured Poets Department

By Charlie Sawyer

Vivek Ramaswamy is on a mission to turn BuzzFeed into a millennial conservative mouthpiece

By Abby Amoakuh

Nara Smith’s braids are causing outrage on TikTok. Here’s why

By Charlie Sawyer

New York Attorney General sues some of the US’ biggest pro-life groups for unsafe Abortion Pill Reversal treatment

By Charlie Sawyer

Australian journalist slams viewer who said her outfit was inappropriate for reading the news

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Taiwan political stunt backfires as 3 hospitalised after eating free laundry pods distributed in campaign

By Charlie Sawyer

Period poverty has people using socks and newspapers as sanitary products amid cost of living crisis

By Abby Amoakuh

RuPaul’s new online bookstore Allstore removes anti-trans and far-right books following controversy

By Charlie Sawyer

Actor who played 12-year-old kissing grown woman in Disney movie responds to calls for film to be removed

By Charlie Sawyer

Finance bro podcasts are cringe and problematic, so why are they taking over TikTok?

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Release date, cast list, and more: everything you need to know about The Last of Us season 2

By Charlie Sawyer

Republican lawmaker censured for saying mass shootings are god’s punishment for abortion rights

By Abby Amoakuh

Bar announces Heterosexual Awareness Month where straight men drink for free on Mondays

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Tokyo launches official dating app with single status verification to combat Japan’s birthrate decline