Manatees and their babies
On March 21, 2017 a mother manatee was seen swimming the waters of Pinellas County, Florida. Manatee babies known as calves, will stay with their mothers for about two years. While manatees don’t develop strong family groups the mothers have close connections with their young. The gray manatee in this video may likely be an older offspring to the mother and will likely be swimming off on her own soon. When females are ready to mate they excrete a hormone which attracts several males. The female will mate with several males. After mating the males no longer associate with the females or offspring. Adult manatees are about 8 ft in length and their color can range from gray to a dark brown. Some appear to be green but this is just the algae growing on their skin. It is illegal to touch, feed, or harass a manatee in any way. They are protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. An Endangered Species Protection Act Petition was filed by Save Crystal River to have the manatees removed from the endangered species act list. Even if this happens Manatees will still be protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. If you see a manatee, enjoy watching from a safe and quiet distance and appreciate that these grazers of the sea help to keep sea grasses from growing too tall and prevent photosynthesis from reaching smaller grasses or marine plants. Despite mass outreach efforts and speed signs, boaters continue to hit these slow moving creatures. Keeping a reasonable speed and a watchful eye helps reduce injury to manatees and damage to your boat. Notice in the video how the manatees tail creates rings. These can be seen from quite a distance and can be a boater’s first alert that a manatee is in their path.