Venice Beach, Florida, in Sarasota County is known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World” and for good reason. When my family went there in September (and again in November—we really like that beach!), it took only minutes to begin finding shark teeth in the sand. Sarasota sits on a deep fossil layer, and as the gulf waves move in and out, the layer is stirred up and shark teeth and other fossils are washed ashore.

Our day at the beach started with a delicious meal at Sharky’s on the Pier, which has fresh seafood and really good nachos. Then we walked down the sand to the Gulf shore. The water was clear, so clear that we could see schools of sheepshead fish right up near the beach. It was perfect for wading and looking for shark teeth.

The Search Begins 

We rented a sifter—sometimes called a Venice Snow Shovel—from Papa’s Bait Shop by the pier. The sifter was a metal basket with fine weave attached to a pole, perfect for scooping up sand and washing it out, leaving behind shells and shark teeth. We found dozens of them, some tiny and fragile, and others as big as a thumb. For the really adventurous, there are boat rides and diving available, with captains who specialize in finding bigger fossilized shark teeth, but for us, a sifter was perfect.

So Many Teeth!

Sharks can produce 25,000 to 35,000 teeth in their lifetime. Most sharks have five rows of teeth and they can lose up to 100 per day. They constantly grow new ones, unlike humans who only have two sets in their lifetime. No wonder it was so easy to find shark teeth.

More Fun

Up and down the beach, people were enjoying the sand and water. Beach-goers fished off the pier and took pictures under it. Further down from the pier, but still an easy walk, is a section where dogs are allowed to romp in the water. There really is something for everyone at Venice Beach!

Written by K. Allison Brannon