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 Charlie Sawyer

Nikki Haley snaps at Fox News reporters who asked her why she hasn’t dropped out of the election

By Abby Amoakuh

Sydney Sweeney claps back at TikTok scammer who pretended to be her dietitian

By Abby Amoakuh

Grace Beverley is being cancelled for asking fans to fund her wedding by buying her £42 planners

By Alma Fabiani

Alicia Keys surprises London commuters with piano performance at St Pancras train station

By Abby Amoakuh

Ariana Grande shakes off haters with new song as long-time stalker finally gets convicted

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

The Satanic Temple names abortion clinic after Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s mum

By Alma Fabiani

What is FOBO and why is it on the rise among gen Z?

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

KSI v Tommy Fury: What went down at the pre-fight conference and where to watch the boxing match

By Alma Fabiani

Japanese scientists develop first of its kind drug that stimulates tooth growth in humans

By Charlie Sawyer

A guide on how to save on your energy bills after CEO of British Gas owner admits he can’t justify his £4.5M salary

By Abby Amoakuh

Here’s why BookTok is already hating on Milly Bobby Brown’s fiction novel Nineteen Steps

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

How Gabon’s gen Z weaponised the make noise meme to protest decades of deprivation

By Alma Fabiani

Brothers jailed for recording themselves torturing poor animals in sadistic attacks

By Charlie Sawyer

Calling all UK-based gen Z: We want to pay your rent 

By Fleurine Tideman

PETA joins team Ariana against Tom Sandoval ahead of Vanderpump Rules season 11

By Alma Fabiani

CDC warns US doctors of deadly Vibrio vulnificus outbreak as flesh-eating bacteria claims more lives

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Florence Pugh reveals her mum got high with Snoop Dogg at the Oscars

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

George Santos sues Jimmy Kimmel after taking distasteful jab at Amy Schumer’s appearance

By Abby Amoakuh

Trump to face trial in hush money case, as Fani Willis defends romantic relationship in Georgia case 

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Two duvets, one love: How the Scandinavian sleep method transformed my nights