As a young kid, a perfect day at the beach was playing in the water, running with my dog, and the best of all, finding seashells and shark teeth. For those who are hearing of shark tooth hunting for the first time – Yes, it’s a real thing.
The South Carolina coastline is well-known with many popular beaches. It’s also the favorite meeting ground of shark tooth hunters. No, you’re not required to catch a shark to pry out its tooth. Millions of tiny teeth are scattered across the beach, hidden under the sand and amongst the shells.
Shark teeth on beaches aren’t as common as seashells. That said; finding them isn’t that difficult either once you figure out how to do it. Shark tooth hunting is an adventure that every visitor to Myrtle Beach must experience. It’s fun and all you need is patience, a keen eye, and a pinch of luck.
Still, there is something you can do to increase the chances of success. What is it, you ask? Follow these simple tips.
1. Roll with the Tide
There is a conflicting opinion on this one. Some hunters claim to have better luck when the tide rolls out, while others vouch for the converse – they prefer to search for shark tooth when the tide rolls in. You may try both methods for a few times before hitting on a winning formula.
One thing is consistent for me… if you find one tooth then there are probably a lot more. When you start finding teeth keep hunting hard because there are probably a lot more all around you.
The exact time of high and low tide changes every day. Hence, check on the schedule and prepare to go shark tooth hunting before or after the tide. There are a few apps that would provide you with the tide timing.
2. Seashells Will Lead You to the Shark Teeth
The best place to look for shark teeth is where you’ll normally find loads of shells. Shells, shark teeth, and other gifts of the sea congregate at the shell beds. They are deposited as a whole on the shore by the incoming tides. If you search the heaps of shells carefully, you’re sure to find shark teeth. A chipped shell might sometimes resemble a tooth. Hence, examine thoroughly before you pocket the object believing it to be a shark tooth.
3. Search the Creeks and Tide Pools
After the hide tide, water collects in natural pools and creeks. The heavy shell and shark tooth settle down at the bottom. This makes the pools and creeks the ideal place to look for gems, shells, and of course shark tooth. Rather than walking the beach, some people like to sit down and slowly comb through the thickest shell beds. If you have poor eyesight this can be a better method since you can get down closer to the ground.
4. Learn to Identifying Shark Teeth
A shark tooth, a broken shell, a piece of stone or wood – for an untrained eye, these objects may appear the same. So, here is how you can distinguish a shark tooth from other objects.
A tooth that has fallen off not too long ago is whitish. Shark teeth that have been in the water for a while appear slightly discolored and light brownish. A fossilized and decades-old shark tooth is generally dark or black. Also, some might be smooth-edged, while others have sharp edges.
You can identify a shark tooth by its ‘T’ or broad triangular shape. Those who are not familiar with shark teeth shapes can visit related websites. Some of them have comprehensive information on this subject and identify the different species.
Hold the shark tooth to the light. The tooth of the fish that’s not too old would have a glossy shine. In contrast, shells generally have an iridescent quality.
5. Hunt at Night with a Flashlight!
This was a game changer for me. I usually find twice as many teeth when I hunt at night. The reason is that those small black shark teeth have a slightly different glare than the black shell fragments. During the day they all look the same and it can be harder to differentiate between the two.
At night, shine a flashlight or headlamp and scan the shell beds. The teeth have a slight matte finish that look different than shells. After a while you will learn to spot them quickly.
Where to Look for Shark Tooth in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The entire coastline of South Carolina is known for hunting shark teeth. That said; many hunters have had success at Cherry Grove Beach, the Grand Strand, Pawleys Island and Murrell’s Inlet (in south Myrtle Beach), and between 50th Avenue North and 10th Avenue South (in central Myrtle Beach).
What Type of Sharks Swim the Waters Near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
The South Carolina coastline is home to hundreds of species of sharks. Expert shark tooth hunters peg the number at 400 species, but there might be more. Some are common species, but if you’re lucky you might stumble upon a piece of the great white shark or other rare species.
At Myrtle Beach, some of the common teeth specimens come from lemon shark, bull shark, tiger shark, and sand tiger shark.
Things You Need to Make Shark Tooth Hunting an Enjoyable Experience
You don’t need any hunting gear as you’re not going to wrestle with a live shark in the water. To make your search more effective and efficient you could use: Water shoes (to protect your feet while you trek the coves and creeks), a small bag and pick up tool (to rummage through the sand and pick up objects), and a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen lotion (for protection on a bright sunny day).
Basically, prepare for a fun day at the beach and you’ll have pretty much everything you need for a day of successful tooth hunting!
Next: 4 of the Best Places to Find Fossils in Florida