Our Gentle Giants   Leave a comment

The warm waters of Florida attract all sorts of wildlife but, nothing bigger or stranger than the West Indian Manatee.

Often reaching ten feet in length and weighing in at 800 to 1200 lbs., these large aquatic mammals are believed to live well over sixty years.

Because they are mammals, they surface to breathe air every three to five minutes and rest submerged for up to twenty minutes. The flat paddle tail propels them through water while two forelimbs with nails assist in crawling the shallows for their favorite food…sea grass.

The reproductive rate of manatees is very slow as they do not mature until five years of age. It is believed that one calf is born every two to five years with a gestation period of one year.

Although, cold winters take a toll on the manatee population, it is watercraft related fatalities that is the greatest cause of death.

So, if planning a boating/jet ski vacation, please keep an eye on the surface for coconut shaped heads in the water. A collision with one of these slow moving giants will definitely put a dent in your vacation.

Posted May 10, 2014 by aj4srq in Uncategorized

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