7 Extraordinary Manatee Facts (Part 1)

Manatee News 11 29 2014Photo: National Geographic – Blue Spring State Park, Orange City, Florida

Greetings! Here are the first 4 of 7 very cool manatee facts for you. And since it’s now early December, the ten percent of us who love to travel on adventures are all back in the place we call home – warm and sunny Florida!

  1. Florida Manatees can swim as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts I sure can attest to that! I documented my summer adventure from Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida all the way up to Cape Cod, Massachusetts in my first Kobee Manatee book. Then in 2009, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had to rescue one of my manatee buddies from the rapidly cooling waters off the Jersey Shore. He like I, was heading south from Cape Cod back to home sweet home in Florida. However his southbound journey was cut short because the Mid-Atlantic waters were getting very cold…very fast! He needed to be airlifted to Florida.

Manatee News 12 2 2014 Image: Courtesy of Save The Manatee Club

2. Manatees Swim near Power Plant Outflows to keep Warm

Since manatees are warm-blooded marine mammals, we need warm water. Even though we look fat, we have no continuous layer of blubber to keep us warm. So when the water temperature drops below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, we find warmer water! Mr. Andy Garrett of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission states, “60 percent of manatees now spend their winters clustered around power plant outflows.” A good example here would be Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center located in Apollo Beach, Florida. Here’s their link … http://www.tampaelectric.com/company/mvc/ The rest of us swim in Florida’s naturally warm spring waters, such as Blue Spring State Park. Here’s their link … http://www.savethemanatee.org/savethemanateecam.html

3. Alligators Always Yield to Manatees!

It’s true – alligators will always give us manatees the right of way! Mr. Patrick Rose, Executive Director of the Save the Manatee Club explains, “Even the big 12-foot alligator will give way to the manatee.” It’s simple – we’ll swim up to alligators is in our way, then bump or nudge them to move!

4. Did you Know Elephants are the Manatee’s Closest Relative?

It’s true! Of course through thousands of years, we still have our very own unique evolutionary traits such as living in warm tropical waters, two flippers and a paddle-shaped tail. However, it is the elephant living on dry land that is our closest relative and here’s why…

  • Manatees have three or four nails at the end of our flippers similar to the elephant’s toenails.
  • Manatees also use our prehensile upper lips (a small version of the elephant’s trunk) so we can grasp and put food in our mouths. Mr. Patrick Rose explains, “It’s like two little hands in the upper lip on each side.”

In my next blog, I’ll talk about 3 more extraordinary facts on manatees!

~ Kobee Manatee