Live leopard shark drops from sky onto golf course

A leopard shark like this one dropped onto a golf course in San Juan Capistrano.
(Los Angeles Times)

Now this is a hazard worth taking a penalty stroke for. A shark fell from the sky and landed near the 12th tee at the San Juan Hills Golf Club in San Juan Capistrano on Monday.

“It was just wriggling around,” Director of Club Operations Melissa McCormack told the Capistrano Dispatch. “Honestly, this is the weirdest thing that’s happened here.”

The shark, a two-foot long leopard shark, was discovered by an on-duty course marshal, who loaded it onto his golf cart and drove it to the clubhouse, where he put it in a bucket of water.

Fellow employee Bryan Stizer then drove the shark to the Pacific Ocean, which is about five miles from the course.


“I thought he was dead,” Stizer told the Dispatch. “When I dropped him into the water, he just lied there for a few seconds, but then he did a twist and shot off into the water.”

Experts think the shark was snatched out of the ocean by a bird because it had puncture wounds near its dorsal fin.

“It had a little blood on it, but it was still alive,” McCormack said. “We didn’t want to waste any time. Poor guy, he got dropped onto a golf course.”

Julianne Steers, chief aquarist at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, said: “I have seen peregrine falcons and we do have ospreys. Between the two of those, ospreys are probably more frequent. Those are the only two that would’ve had the strength,” Steers said.

But a leopard shark? Wouldn’t it have made more sense for it to be a tiger shark?

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