Where to find Florida snow shovels (and shark teeth)
In normal life, we try to avoid the grips of a shark’s teeth.
In Venice, Florida, better known as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World, we go out of our way to encounter shark teeth.
Shark teeth that can be as old as million years, that is.
So many dead sharks have accumulated beneath the silt and the sand of the Gulf near Venice, their teeth have fallen off over time and become as commonplace as the many shells you’ll find along the seashore. (Just read Florida Culture’s “Searching for Shark Teeth in Venice” for more details.) However, many of the teeth are so small, you’ll need special tools to find them.
That’s where a Florida snow shovel comes in. A Florida snow shovel is shaped like a shovel but has a basket on the end. The basket can help you sift through sand, shells, and who knows what else to identify shark teeth that have washed ashore.
Where can you find a Florida snow shovel? Check Walmart–we found a Walmart in Sarasota selling them for about $18. However, if you want to be creative, you could use your child’s sand sifting toy or even a pasta collander for home with the same effect. You can also look for shark’s teeth with your bare hands. On our recent visit to Caspersen Beach, a haven for shark-tooth hunters, we found a teeny tiny shark’s tooth just by picking up a handful of shells. Unforuntately, it was so small, it also fell out of our hands very quickly and wasn’t found again.
Caspersen Beach has a more rustic, brown-sand setting than your usual white sand Gulf beaches. (If you want to just laze in the sun like a beached whale, you can do it here, but you might feel more comfortable at another beach.) Most visitors to Caspersen are there to hunt for teeth or fish or even shells. The shark-tooth hunting requires a Zen-like patience and quiet. However, even not-so-patient kids can be heard saying “I found one!” every few minutes.
Other Venice beaches provide shark tooth opportunities. For even more info on shark’s teeth, visit the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce (they may even give you a little bag of teeth) or some of the souvenir stories in downtown Venice. One store has a great display of shark tooth samples.
For the full shark-tooth hunting experience, check out this weekend’s annual Shark’s Tooth Festival, to be held April 13-15, 2012, at the Venice Airport Grounds. The festival will feature artists, entertainment, food, fossil displays (including shark teeth, of course), and hands-on exhibits for children. The cost is $3/person. The festival also has a Shark’s Tooth 10K run on Saturday, April 14, at 7:15 a.m.