Searching the Shark Tooth Capital of the World
Beach walking is a favourite pastime of mine and the opportunity to find shells and sharks’ teeth was the lure that took me to Caspersen Beach, just south of Venice, Florida.
Touted to be the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World, ” the Venice area boasts a total of five beaches: Venice Beach, Nokomis Beach, North Jetty Beach, Brohard Beach and Caspersen Beach. While sharks’ teeth can be found on most of these beaches, Caspersen Beach’s undeveloped shoreline makes it a natural draw for shelling and hunting for sharks’ teeth.
There are lots of shells and sharks’ teeth to be found, but try to get there early in the morning to get ahead of the crowds. You will see lots of people standing in the water with a long-handled sieve device to scoop up the sand a few feet offshore, hoping to find sharks’ teeth.
Some hunters, like me, just walk the shoreline and manage to find teeth and lots of shells, while others actually dig in the sandbanks, looking for teeth and other fossilized items.
I was told by a tourist representative in Venice that the reason so many sharks’ teeth are found in the area is because the waters are so calm, and the teeth are therefore not swept out to sea.
The beach sand in the Venice area is also a darker colour than the northern beaches with their pristine white sands, due to the high concentration of fossilized materials. I thought a shark’s tooth would be white, but these are petrified teeth and are usually black or a very dark brown.
Interestingly, there were actually more adults than kids looking for teeth in the water when I was there. Team the excitement of finding my first shark’s tooth and my cache of pretty shells with swooping gulls and terns and diving pelicans, and you really couldn’t ask for a better day at the beach—for adults or kids.
Caspersen Beach also offers a small nature trail for hiking, public restrooms, free parking and a boardwalk that will help you get from one part of the beach to another (over the huge boulders and rock outcrops).