What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

On a recent dive trip to Venice, Florida, we chose to do some shore diving for shark’s teeth. We didn’t find any megalodon teeth, but we sure had a lot of fun, and found plenty of shark teeth.

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

Shark Teeth!

Before you claim all shark teeth look the same, I need to say – many of them look very, very similar, but once you look closer; they can be distinguished.

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

We found teeth from Tiger, Bull, Dusky, Silky, and Reef sharks. Can you tell which is which?

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally
Possibly a dugong rib fragment. Dugong are like manatees, only different.

What Else People Find in Venice

We possibly also found either manatee rib pieces, or dugong rib fragments.

In the area, we talked to a couple people who also have found World War II 50 caliber cartridges from a shooting range in the area, whale jaw bones, mastodon teeth, horse teeth, and, of course, megalodon shark teeth.

We even got to see a freshly-found mammoth tooth – it was larger than a loaf of bread!

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

Rate of Findings

We found about 100 teeth in four dives. Actually, one dive was very short as we lost the pole to our dive flag; so that one shouldn’t really count. Ok, so, in three dives of about an hour and a half each, we found about 100 teeth between two divers.

That’s about 50 teeth each, in 4.5 hours of diving, or, about 11 teeth an hour. Actually, that’s not all that accurate, as at least a half hour was spent returning to shore. I’d say we really found closer to 15-20 teeth an hour during the time of the dive that we were actually actively hunting.

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

Largest Teeth We Found

These two are possibly the largest of all the teeth we found. Certainly not megalodon, but still, with objects appearing 30% larger underwater… I was thrilled to find these!

The lack of growth on them, the distinct shapes, the shininess, and the perfection surprised me. I found only a few teeth that were broken; most were whole and perfect, as if they had dropped out of a shark’s mouth yesterday.

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

Unidentified Finds!

While I might never know exactly what these bone fragments are, or from what part of which animal’s body, it’s certainly interesting to ponder.

How old are they, from what animal, what was the Earth like then, and how many of these animals were roaming around are all questions I have. I’ll have answers to all that soon, hopefully, from the Florida Museum! Read on to see how!

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

What Others Have Found

At Venice Dive Center, we found this amazing display of underwater finds. You can clearly identify the Mastodon tooth with the distinct protrusions.

Well, we found a few other things there too – but those we purchased; a signal horn, a new dive flag, a larger dive flag… but I digress!

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

You can imagine that most of these items looked like nothing special as they were found in murky water, low visibility, and encrusted with sea growth.

Years of Collections

At Florida West Scuba and Charters, you could spend hours looking over their collection of teeth, bones, and other artifacts. It’s like a museum display, with years of gathered items available for viewing.

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

Keeping Your Search Legal

Before you go looking for fossils, you need a Florida Fossil Permit Application and Permit. It’s not expensive, and it’s the responsible thing to do. You don’t need one to hunt shark teeth, but you do for bones.

The permittee must abide by all the provisions contained in Florida Statutes § 1004.575-576 and the University of Florida Regulation implementing this law.

Basically, the most important parts of these statutes are:

Arranging for the disposition of the vertebrate fossils by accredited institutions and for the temporary or permanent loan of such fossils for the purpose of further scientific study, interpretative display, and curatorial responsibilities by such institutions.

Then, there is a description of prohibited actions such as destroying, defacing, buying or selling of vertebrate fossils found on or under land owned or leased by the state and on land in state-designated vertebrate paleontological sites.

Except, the Florida Museum of Natural History may adopt rules defining “nonessential vertebrate fossils” and prescribe the conditions under which such fossils may be sold or otherwise disposed of by a person holding a permit issued by the Florida Museum of Natural History. 

Participating in any of those prohibited actions without first obtaining a permit is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of no more than $500 or six month and under imprisonment in the county jail, and the fossil will be confiscated.

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

Benefits of Obtaining the Permit

The Florida Museum would like to see digital images of your find, and, in return, they will identify them! Hooray! You can even post photos on your website, and email them the address!

Or, you can bring in your specimens to Dickinson Hall on Museum Road in Gainesville, Florida. They recommend emailing to make an appointment.

Mailing specimens is also allowed, and they will be returned.

Best of all, there’s a large section on their website about preserving fossils! Removing deposits, preparation, conservation – it’s all covered here, and from the experts. It’s a whole book’s worth of information. Just having access to this information is worth the $5 a year the permit will cost you.

, What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

What to Read Next

Head over the the blog, and search “Venice” to find all the rest – where we stayed, where we dove, what we learned – it’s all there!

Also, after I wrote this article, I found an awesome resource – The Fossil Guy! On that website, there are photos identifying finds, maps, history of Florida; so much useful information. Due to this site, I learned that some small thingies I had been picking up are actually “something” – they are ray mouth plates. Who knew?!

Accommodations and Other Information:

• On Airbnb.com, search for “Venice” then look for the Venice Villas # listings – it’s a great place to stay. Here’s up to $415 off your first booking. Using my code does not increase your cost – I might receive a small compensation for providing you with information. Or, here’s up to $55 off your first trip at Airbnb.

• Here’s an easy way to do your part in saving our oceans. Do your research! Then order reef-safe sunscreen and hair products at Stream2Sea.com, use my code “KimW” for 10% off. AD: affiliate links used. Stream2Sea Sunscreen for Face and Body SPF 20 or Stream2Sea Tinted Sunscreen for Face and Body SPF 20!

• For bleeding control training, I’m taking the Tactical Casualty Care from Crisis Medicine: with code “DeepWH” you save 20% on the TC2 course, which I highly recommend. You need more than basic First Aid when you are far from help, as we are when we head offshore to dive, or even in the springs. 

• MyMedic also features Individual Bleeding Control Kits at this link, and my code “KimW” will save you 10% on your purchase. You should bring one to your dives! We do… It’s better to be prepared than to be unprepared. Add a CAT Tourniquet from North American Rescue to any kit, and you are ready.

• Use of my Amazon Affiliate links does not increase your cost, but may return to me a small percentage of your purchase, which helps me bring content to you, and purchase more supplies for my classroom. Thank you for your support!

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