You can do all sorts of things on Caspersen Beach – sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, reading, paddling, shelling, making sandcastles and you can also hunt for prehistoric shark’s teeth!
Known as the Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World, the Gulf waters at Caspersen Beach has converging currents that deposit all sorts of sediment on the shallow drop-offs along the beach. At low tide, and particularly after a storm, the receding waters leave behind shells, small rocks and a surprising number of fossilized shark’s teeth.
Before you head down to the sands with your bucket and spade, checkout exactly what shark’s teeth looks like so you don’t discard them by mistake.
These warm Gulf waters were once home to giant sharks such as carcharodon megalodons. Their fossilized teeth are distinctly triangular with one long point and two shorter points at the thicker base. They look like black onyx. If you think you have found a shark’s tooth a good test is to try to break it – if it crumbles, it’s not a shark’s tooth as they are very hard.
How to Hunt for Shark’s Teeth on Caspersen Beach
You need a small garden shovel or garden pick, a sieve and a bucket or bag to keep your treasure safe. Some places around Venice sell box-like traps for scooping up the sand and letting it wash through the bottom mesh. Larger debris can then be examined to see if you have netted a shark’s tooth.
Scoop up some sand from just below the waterline then wash it in your sieve to get rid of the fine sand. Tip the larger remains onto the sand and examine it carefully. Sharks’ teeth may be tiny dime-sized pieces but you may find some up to three inches in length. Persistence will certainly reward you with a shark’s tooth to keep as a souvenir of your visit.
Caspersen Beach Amenities in Venice
Once you’ve had your fill of hunting for shark’s teeth, you can enjoy the rest of Caspersen Beach’s amenities. The beautiful sandy beach is reached by boardwalks over the sand dunes to protect them from erosion. There are good facilities including parking, picnic shelters, playground, restrooms, and showers. There’s a pleasant ¾ mile nature trail winding through the mangroves and saltwater marshes to connect the beach with the Venetian Waterway Trail.
It’s a great place to spot crabs, herons, egrets and other wildlife. The area is good for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Altogether Caspersen covers 177 acres of cabbage palms, sea grapes, and sea oats. It was bought from the Caspersen family in 1986 for public use.
The beach stretches over 1½ miles and you can actually reach Manasota Key 4 miles away if you keep walking south. You’ll see shore birds, plenty of seashells and if you’re really lucky you may spot the nests of sea turtles.
They are usually marked by volunteers with yellow tape and chicken wire to deter raccoons and other predators. If you do see a nest, it is important not to disturb the area.