Nov 12 2010

Finding Shark Teeth on Folly

Some people think the only way they will ever find a shark’s tooth is to climb into a shark’s mouth, but there are much easier ways that will benefit the both the tooth-seeker and the shark.

Low tide is always the best time to find sharks’ teeth on Folly Beach. This is the time when the water pulls away from the shore and the sand is nice and wet. This wet sand is one of the best places to find sharks’ teeth, although there are times when a find is quickly yanked away by the surf before a tooth-seeker can grab hold of it.

For the novice shark’s tooth finder, unearthing a tooth from the shell-covered sand might seem like an impossibility, but the trick is to know what to look for.

The fossilized teeth are jet black and have an almost polished look to them. Many times the sun hits them just right and they gleam in the sand. While picking up any black looking item from the sand may result in a lot of disappointment as pieces of broken shells and bottles surface instead of a tooth, it is good practice for a beginner.

If a find does seem like a tooth, check to see if it is breakable. Like human teeth, fossilized shark’s teeth are incredibly hard to break (unless pulverized by a hammer or something of the like). If the find isn’t easily breakable, resembles the triangular teeth of a shark, and has a thickened base, then the find was most likely a success.

Teeth on Folly Beach range in size from that of a fingernail to the length of an adult finger. However, in some areas, much larger teeth can be found.

The teeth on the beach are from a variety of different sharks and many local shops offer postcards detailing what kind of shark the tooth is from. Postcards available at local shops in the area provide a way to determine what kind of shark the tooth is from. Tiger sharks and Hammerheads are just a couple of the species of shark native to the Folly Beach waters.

If all attempts to find a tooth render zero finds, one good way to practice is to buy a tooth from a souvenir shop and place it in the sand. This provides tooth-seekers with an eye for what the teeth look like in the sand and it becomes easy to spot them.

But if that method fails as well, then pocket the purchased souvenir tooth and pass it off as an authentic find. Nobody will know the difference.

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Bob Hart Author

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