Hunting for shark teeth is a great family activity for both being outside and learning something new! Our beaches have hundreds and hundreds that regularly wash up and are begging to be found. Lacie and her team at the Youth Activity Center planned a family shark tooth hunt recently, and my boys were so excited to participate!
There were at least 15 families that came out. Lacie started the night by giving us a time limit of 30 minutes to find as many sharks teeth as possible! Then, afterwards, they lit a bonfire and the kids ate S’mores! Give my kids sugar, and they are HAPPY.
Our family found maybe seven or eight, but there were families that found more than 30! Impressive! Both kids and adults had a great time!
Fun facts about shark’s teeth
Ever wonder why so many can be found on our beaches? I did a little research. Enjoy a few fun facts about shark’s teeth!
- Why are shark teeth black? They are black because the teeth are actually fossilized. It takes a long time for the pearly white tooth to become black/brown. The color of the fossilized teeth is dependent upon the minerals that were present when the tooth was lost. Those minerals then deposit into the porous structure of the teeth, forming a fossil. Colors of teeth will vary based on the minerals deposited in the teeth and how they react with the small amounts of oxygen.
- Why are there so many? EACH individual shark can shed more than 30,000 teeth in its lifetime. Whoa! This is because they have multiple rows of teeth that fall out and regrow. Multiply that 30,000+ teeth by every shark of every species that has ever lived over the past tens of thousands of years, and you get a staggering amount of teeth that can be fossilized!
- What kind of sharks do they belong to? It was actually hard to find a FL specific guide book. But there are plenty of books on Amazon about finding fossils in general. But I found a picture that sums up most of the types of teeth found on our beaches.
Tips for finding shark’s teeth
Many suggest to look for sharks teeth after a rainstorm (or hurricane!). The rain or storm will churn up the sediment and reveal shark teeth! When looking for shark teeth, it is easiest to start by training your eyes to find the color black or triangular objects in a sea of broken shells. Shark teeth do come in a range of color, but black is the most common and easiest to spot. Don’t be fooled by lookalikes! A good way to know if you have a tooth is that the crown of the tooth is smooth and shiny and often reflects the sunlight. You should also see the root of the tooth on the opposite end. On some teeth, you may see a serrated edge!
The next time you take your family out to hunt for shark’s teeth, be sure to pick up any trash or debris that doesn’t belong. It’s important to instill a love for our beaches and to take care of them!
Want more family activities? Lacie and her crew have a few fun activities planned for December!
Ornament decorating (FREE) at the Youth Activity Center:
Saturday, December 7, 14, and 21 from 10:00am – 12:00pm
Kids’ New Years Eve Bash at the Youth Activity Center:
Tuesday, December 31st from 7:00pm – 12:30am
Cost is $7/$6/$5 – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd child respectively per hour. It’s open to children 18 months and up!