They seem to like to hang out under our diving tower, about 200 feet from the Lodge. You can often get amazing up close views of them from the Jungle Cruise.
The Florida manatee, or sea cow, (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. They look like big gray walruses, with squinty eyes and faces covered with whiskers. Manatees swim slowly through the water while eating and napping and socializing. Their gentle and serene nature tends to endear them to observers, and most consider manatees as cute.
Manatees are federally listed as an endangered species and protected by state and federal law. Although the exact number of Florida manatees is unknown, based on aerial surveys, researchers belive there are at least 5,000 manatees in state waters. Major threats to manatee survival are all human related: habitat loss from coastal development and pollution, boat-related injuries and deaths, and entanglement in fishing gear.
NO. While swimming, you may look but not touch manatees. If a manatee approaches you, back away to avoid interaction. Human food does not provide them with the nutrients they need. Manatees are wild animals, and interactions with humans may be hazardous to the animal’s well being.
Size: Manatees typically grow to 9 to 10 feet long and weigh about 1,000 pounds.
They can grow to as large as 13 feet and weigh more than 3,000 pounds. Females usually are larger than males.
Speed: Although manatees usually swim between 2 to 6 mph, for a short time, they can swim as fast as 15 mph.
Primary Food: Sea grasses and water plants
Range: Florida manatees are found in rivers, springs, and shallow coastal waters of Florida and nearby states.
Gestation: 12 to 14 months.
Life Span: 50 to 60 years.