Shark Tooth Hunting in White Stone Beach, VA

by Dan Harkins
Sharks have several rows of teeth.

Sharks have several rows of teeth.

Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

Sharks can have as many as 3,000 teeth at one time, arranged in rows and designed to tear, not chew. With so many teeth, they're regularly shedding the old for the new. If you know how to find them, you might end your visit to the historic White Stone Beach, in White Stone, Virginia, with a fistful of treasure.

Where

Some areas off the Atlantic Ocean, such as Venice, Florida, and the capes of North Carolina, are renowned for the number of shark teeth that wash to shore, a result of geography, shark populations and current flow. That's not to say you won't find shark teeth on White Stone Beach. This beach, the site of a former getaway and inn, has fairly desolate stretches still available in 2011. Bring a sifter, and stake your claim to a section of shore with a large amount of sea debris such as shells and seaweed.

What to Do

Preferably at low tide, scour the shoreline for any visible teeth. In areas with the most visible shells, use a sifter to more quickly isolate the shells and teeth from the sand. This will also help you search just below the surface. You might have more luck with a snorkel and mask, though, looking shells and shark teeth moving with the wave action just offshore. You can scoop up underwater sand with your sifter and inspect for treasure at the surface.

What to Look For

The shark population in the Atlantic Ocean is plentiful and diverse, but off the coast of Virginia destinations such as White Stone Beach, the most common are the sandbar, sharpnose, dogfish and dusky species. You might still find teeth from more dangerous species such as the tiger or great white shark, if you're diligent. If you find any triangular shaped objects along the shore -- colored white, brown or black, depending on the species -- you may have found a shark tooth or you may have found a shell that's been broken into a triangle or worn that way by the sands of time.

Identification

To confirm whether you've found a legitimate shark tooth -- and from which species of shark -- use a reputable illustrated catalog of shark teeth. Once you've properly identified the species, you can turn your find into a piece of jewelry, sell it or use it as a prop in a story about your time in White Stone Beach.

About the Author

Dan Harkins has been a full-time journalist since 1997. Prior to working in the alternative press, he served as a staff writer and editor for daily publications such as the "St. Petersburg Times" and "Elyria Chronicle-Telegram." Harkins holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of South Florida.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images