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Fossil-Treasures-of-Florida-Newsletter, Issue #0017 -- Venice, Florida – Fossil Shark Tooth Capital
January 09, 2013

Fossil Newsletter, Issue #0017 - Venice, Florida – Fossil Shark Tooth Capital of the World

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* Venice, Florida – Fossil Shark Tooth Capital of the World
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Venice, Florida – Fossil Shark Tooth Capital of the World

On the gulf side of Florida, South of Sarasota is a beach side town that proclaims to be the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World”. Venice, Florida is a fossil hot-spot for Fossil Shark Teeth, Megalodon Teeth, and other prehistoric fossils. It is famous for small black Fossil Shark Teeth that wash-up on the beach.

I’ve seen local beach goers that have large glass jars with hundreds of Small Prehistoric Sharks Teeth in them. They are very proud to show you what they have found. A lot of the local “retired crowd” is beach hunting the surf for Fossil Shark Teeth at first light. This is a place where beach combers can truly find fossil treasures. Entire families are out looking for these fossilized sharks teeth. I like beaches “OK”, but when you can combine the beach with fossil hunting, that’s a home run!

One of the stories you will hear is that a number of years back a restoration project to restore the sand on the beach was taken on. Apparently, after a number of storms, Hurricanes, and so on, the beach was eroding away. So, for tourism and the town, it was decided to dredge sand off shore and pump it back onto the beach. That part of the story went well, but what didn’t go so – good was it caused their productive Fossil Shark Tooth Beach to become much less abundant.

Pre-dredging, I could collect 25-30 teeth with a small screen in minutes; Post-dredging, 2-3 teeth in a few minutes. I’ve heard that south of Venice Pier is a little better hunting. The good news is that there are still fossil shark teeth on the beach, just not as many as there used to be. Even better news is that the next couple of beaches south of Venice (Manasota & Cassey Keys) still produce good quantities of fossil shark teeth. Other beaches that produce teeth are Mokino Beach and south of Dog Beach, and Casperson Beach. These may be some of the best places to find Fossil Sharks Teeth in or near Venice Beach. After a storm, a lot of people are out hunting the next day to discover new fossil treasures. Also, the fossil diving at Venice, when weather and visibility are good, seems to be untouched by the past dredging.

The fossil shark teeth from Venice, FL come from a deposit about a ½ to 1 mile off the shore. The local divers call it the “ridge” or “bone yard”, where a number of fossil bones and teeth can be found. It seems to be a rocky area with fossils scattered here and there. This is what use to be the old beach millions of years ago. If you are in an area with all sand, your fossil hunting in the wrong spot. There may be fossils there, but digging out all that sand is a futile practice (I know). All that sand is moving around over time, covering and uncovering fossils and especially after storms. What’s nice about Venice is the diving is only 25’-30’ deep. Although, I have personally not seen any, there have been reports of 8’ Modern Hammerhead Sharks and others – spotted in that same area.

The deposit is 10-15 Million years old and is from the Miocene Period (there is Pleistocene material mixed in). The wave action sorts out the teeth. The smallest ones wash up on the beach and the larger ones are further out and closer to the source. Some Divers go ½ mile off the beach to find Sharks Teeth that are presorted by wave action, ranging in size from ½”, ¾” and 1” in size, to make jewelry grade fossil Shark Tooth Necklaces. The teeth are of higher quality further off the beach, because they are less worn by the wave action and the surf.

The largest of all the Fossil Shark Teeth is the Megalodon Tooth. The largest shark to have ever lived! A single tooth can be 5 ½ to 6 ½ inches in length. This shark, in real life, would be as big as a school bus. The Megalodon is the superstar of Fossil Shark Teeth. If you are diving for Fossil Megalodon Teeth at Venice Beach, you have a good chance to find a few. Although, this might not be the place to find the World Record Largest Megalodon Tooth, you can find 4”-5” teeth here, and smaller. Once you familiarize yourself with Megalodon Teeth, Venice Megs have a distinctive and desirable look about them.

Modern Shark’s teeth have white enamel, but these fossil teeth are black (also gray, gray-blue, brown). Why are the Fossil Sharks Teeth black? The fossil teeth have been replaced with a mineral or minerals that give them that color (manganese and iron oxides). The hardest part of a shark is its teeth and that has the best chance of fossilizing. Sharks then and now shed about 30,000 teeth in a life time. Their teeth are constantly being replaced by new ones. These sheer numbers of shed teeth increase the chance for fossilization. Sharks have changed little, if at all, in millions of years.

I fondly remember my first experience at Venice Beach – spending hours standing in the surf, screening teeth. As the sun was setting, my wife was being patient with me (knowing my child like enthusiasm), and of coarse, I kept on fossil hunting until it was absolutely dark. If I would have had a flashlight, I would have been there all night. I know my wife was giving me “that look” (code for “enough, let’s go”), but luckily it was dark and I couldn’t see it – although, I could still feel it.

What types of Fossil Shark’s Teeth can be found at Venice? The main teeth you will encounter (hopefully) are: Megalodon (Megs), Extinct Mako, Shortfin Mako, Lemon, Sand Shark, Dusky, Bull Shark, Extinct Tiger Shark, Snaggletooth.

*Fossilized Shark's Teeth & Fossils: A Photo Identification Guide
*Hunting Fossil Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida

Many Pleistocene Mammal Teeth can be discovered here (mostly diving). These would include Mastodon & Mammoth teeth, Horse, Llama, Jaguar, Saber-toothed Cat, etc. There is a little shop that has a window display with a number of these treasures in town.

One of the best and biggest festivals that Venice has is the annual “Venice Shark Tooth Festival”. It will be starting its 21st year in the spring, towards the middle of April. It is an outdoor Festival, near the airport, with a wide variety of kids, plus adult activities, and is used to raise money for charity. Besides the food vendors, live music, kid’s inflatables, craft booth vendors, are three large tents set off to one side. These three tents have fossils and fossil related items for sale. And of coarse, plenty of fantastic fossil sharks teeth for the avid fossil hunter, collector and would be fossil shark tooth enthusiast.

What's New at

*Fossils for Sale 1
*Fossils for Sale 2
*Fossils for Sale 3
*Fossils for Sale 4
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