Many people come to Venice Beach on Florida’s central west coast to hunt for fossil shark teeth. It’s a great beach activity that combines treasure hunting, fossil collecting, swimming, beach-combing and exercise. What’s great about Venice is that the shark teeth are pretty easy to find and the view of the Gulf is beautiful.
Now for the flip-side. Shark teeth on Venice Beach may be easy to find, but not like they used to. What’s more, they are generally very small and beach-worn, to the point that many are no longer recognizable as shark teeth. Long-time Venice beachcombers will tell you what it was like 30 years ago, when collecting was much better. In the 90’s, the city of Venice did a beach renourishment project to improve the beach, which had gradually eroded away and was getting coarser. The beach gained more sand, but lost many of it’s fossil treasures, which were now buried too deep below the sand to erode out in the waves as they previously did.
The frustrating thing is, the fossils are still there, just inaccessible. In fact, the phosphate gravel layer that the fossils are found in extends more than 45 miles west and north from Venice and out into the Gulf of Mexico as well. If you’re a diver, you can find some fossils out off the beach in 30-40 ft of water. That is, IF you can find a fossil bed that hasn’t been collected too heavily these days. Commercial dive charters and recreational divers have discovered large Megalodon shark teeth and fossils and have been collecting the gulf for years now.
So, where does that leave you in your pursuit of the big teeth? The Peace River of course! The Peace River has been collected for many years but still has many great places to look for fossils if you know where to look. Our website gallery on www.paleodiscoveries.com has many pictures and accounts of our successful guided fossil tours. In addition to many hundreds of smaller shark teeth we find on our tours, we commonly find the larger Megalodon shark teeth up to 4″ and other fossils from animals such as mammoths, mastodons, tapirs, camels, horses, rhinos, giant sloths, whales, bison and more. The Peace River is safe, generally shallow and canoe friendly. We find fossils by digging and sifting river gravel with equipment we supply. Just bring a lunch, change of clothes and a will to fossil hunt.
Our guided fossil hunting tours are arranged by reservation on weekends and weekdays all year. It helps both you and us to give at least a few days notice before booking your tour but don’t hesitate to give us a try the night before if need be. A deposit is not required. We generally are reaching areas by canoe with boats and equipment we supply but we also can do walk-in tours without a canoe. Please call (772) 539-7005 or email- fredmazza at paleodiscoveries dot com for more info or visit www.paleodiscoveries.com or http://fossilhuntingtours.com