Are you ready to hunt for “Black Gold”?
All the details you need to know for the ultimate shark tooth-hunting Adventure!
Known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” locals, tourists, and SCUBA divers come to Venice Beach to hunt for “black gold” – Megalodon, Mako, and smaller species of shark teeth!
- Ready for a little bit of awesome fossil science?
- But wait, there’s even more types of fossils to find than you know about!
- Finding Shark Teeth on The Beach
- Information You Need to Know Before Diving for Shark’s Teeth
- How to Find Sharks Teeth Shore Diving
- Boat Diving for Sharks Teeth
Everyone wants to go Venice for shark teeth, but there are so many more types of fossils in Venice, FL — that you don’t even know about!
Along with shark teeth, there are many other types of fossils you can find too – including whale, stingray, and ice-age animal bones!
Venice has an assortment of fossils just waiting to be found.
Picture this – ancient treasures, dating back millions to hundreds of thousands of years, washed up on the beach and scattered just off the shore.
And the best part? They’re completely free for the taking!
Now, I may be slightly obsessed (okay, more than slightly) but I’ve been a shark tooth hunter for over 7 years. Trust me when I say there’s a whole underwater fossil world, beyond shark teeth, that almost no one knows about!
1. Ready for a Little Bit of Awesome Fossil Science?
Remember those predator-prey relationships from high school science?
Yeah well, in Venice, not only will you find sharks’ teeth you will find the bones of what they devoured.
Get ready to stumble upon fossil fragments of whale rib bones (seriously, they’re everywhere) dugong rib bones (Yep, they’re everywhere too!), and turtle shells – because that’s what Megalodon and the larger sharks ate.
With the smaller shark teeth (today’s sharks) you will find stingray mouth plates and barbs (yep, you guessed it, everywhere!).
2. But wait, there’s even more fossils to find!
You can find ice-age animal bones including horse teeth, and mammoth teeth. Mammoth teeth are worth as much or more than Megalodon teeth!
Why are ice age animal’s, mixed with shark fossils?
Florida was underwater most of earth’s history so the shark fossils make sense.
However, during the height of ice age Florida was no longer under water, and the state was twice as wide as it is now.
This is why there are no land dinosaur bones in Florida, but plenty of marine animals and ice-age animals.
These bone fragments are even easier to find (compared to shark teeth) because everyone’s too busy searching for teeth and don’t know these other types of fossils are all in the same area.
So, are you ready to embark on your own hunt for “black gold”?
Here are three ways to find shark teeth, and other fossils, in Venice Beach, Florida
If you are interested in knowing more about Megalodon and/or Florida Ice Age animals you can buy these (cheap) lessons I’ve created for educators at my Teachers Pay Teachers store (they are mostly pictures).
For a fantastic free fossil resource, check out the Tampa Bay Fossil Club website.
3. Finding Shark Teeth on The Beach
Hunting for shark teeth on Caspersen Beach in Venice, Florida is a popular local activity!
All you need is to train your eye to look for small black triangles and have patience.
Most of the teeth you find here will be around ½” inch.
They can be fossilized Bull, Tiger, Sand Tiger, or Lemon shark teeth.
You can use this link from the Fossil Guy to help you ID your shark’s teeth and stingray fossils. Scroll 1/2 down the page to the black background chart titled “Venice Beach Fossils”.
If you want to find larger shark teeth, like Megalodon teeth, then you need to go diving. Occasionally Meg teeth will wash up on the beach, but it is rare.
There are two different ways to locate fossils from the beach:
- Fossilized shark teeth can be uncovered by sifting through the sand, especially after a high tide or storm. You can use a kitchen strainer, buy a long-handled metal scoop/strainer from the local Babe’s hardware store or make your own.
- Walk up and down the beach at the water line, along the tide line and search for small black triangles that have been washed up.
There is only one place to go, Caspersen Beach. It is at the very end of the Venice beach road.
The best time to go is low tide or after a storm. Especially after a storm!
For the best teeth, you need to beat the locals and go really early – like the sun coming up early
However, if you are like me and consider noon or early morning there are plenty of teeth to find too – you are just going to have to search a little more.
Best advice – plan to spend a few hours, looking hard (hint: look at my photos here and develop your “shark tooth eye” (yep it really is a thing).
Caspersen Beach, 4100 Harbor Dr S, Venice, FL 34285
4. Information you need to know before diving for shark’s teeth
Divers often separate/lose their SCUBA buddy when hunting for teeth.
During beach dives, my dive buddy and I stay in the same area and check in with each other on the surface every 30 minutes.
I tried tethering to my buddy the first time I went fossil diving. I was very nervous and didn’t want to go alone but it was difficult and unpleasant.
I quickly learned there is nothing to be nervous about, the water is shallow (20-25 feet) and there is nothing out there. It’s 99% sand, rock, and a few fish.
However, on my last 3 dives, I have seen seahorses as big as my hand!
The visibility is typically poor, anywhere from 2’-10’ around you.
There is very little to see other than searching for shark teeth and fossils.
I pick a search pattern, swimming either up and down rows or in a square.
My face is 5-10″ inches from the ocean floor the entire time I am fossil hunting.
Make sure you have a mesh fossil hunting bag. If you are going out on a boat charter they will have one you can borrow. The local dive shop I recommend is Venice Dive Center, you can buy the mesh bags here.
5. How to Find Sharks Teeth Shore Diving
There are a few places in Venice where you can beach dive for shark’s teeth.
you can find the smaller sharks teeth (not a meg but still very fun and more impressive than what you find on the beach.
I love doing beach Venice dives because you can find a lot of really nice shark teeth, ½” to an inch large. I have heard of divers finding Megalodon teeth too – but I have only found them boat diving.
You can find larger pieces of whale rib, dugong rib, and other ice-age animal fossils beach diving.
Don’t forget to bring a mesh bag to collect your fossils in.
The main issue is with shore diving is parking – it can be difficult to find. You have to hunt for a legal spot to park.
You might need to drop your equipment on the beach and then find a side street you can park where you won’t get towed.
Weekdays of course are better than weekends and off-season is better than high season (March and April). The earlier the better!
Three Locations good for beach diving are:
- Alhambra Rd, where it dead ends into the beach area, swim out 200-300 feet and start hunting. Look for rocky, shelly areas also areas with black sand mixed in. This is where I have found a lot of good quality smaller shark teeth.
- Manasota public beach. Directly off the lifeguard stand. Swim out 300 ft and then go north until you see shells or rocks. Follow these shells and rocks to the east and west looking for teeth.
- Venice Public Beach at the end of Venice Ave. Swim southwest past the artificial reef blocks. I have heard of people finding teeth around the 6-foot blocks.
6. Boat Diving for Sharks Teeth
My favorite way to hunt for shark’s teeth in Venice!
I’ve been SCUBA diving with Captain Mike, Aquanutz for over 7 years.
All his charters are 3 dives and he doesn’t restrict the dive time you are in the water.
I dive 1 ½ hours on a single tank, since the water is about 20-25 feet deep.
He has a small boat that holds 6, and supplies tanks, weights, and mesh collection bags for the three dives.
He is well known in the area; it can be hard to get a reservation with him so plan several months in advance.
It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a pro, Captain Mike will be happy to show you examples of fossils you can find and give you the tips to locate them.
Another well known dive boat charter in the area is Aristakat’s. They offer 2 tank shipwreck, and barge dives along with fossil hunting dives.
Venice Dive Center can help with information about available boat charters.
If you like this story be sure to read how to Swim With Manatees Without The Tourist Crowds
or another popular post How To Go Shark Diving in Florida
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