Florida has spent the last three decades trying to increase the number of manatees that live in the waters just off the coast of the state. Back in the early 1990s, there were only about 1,300 of them. It’s why federal wildlife officials eventually placed them on the endangered species list.
But in 2016, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced that manatees would be removed from the list due to an increased population. And as of 2017, there are more than 6,620 manatees living in Florida, according to the Miami Herald.
March 29 is National Manatee Day. As we prepare to celebrate these spectacular mammals, here are five quick facts you need to know about them.
They Have an Incredible Lifespan
In the wild, manatees have a fairly long life. It is believed that manatees can live for as long as 60 years.
No Natural Predators
Manatees are one of only a few animals that don’t have any natural predators, which may be part of why they always seem to be so calm and relaxed. They are not usually targeted by other mammals or sea creatures, and with so little to worry about, that may be why they never seem to be in much of a hurry floating along in the water.
They Thrive in Warm Water
Manatees are a bit like people, and always prefer warmer water. That’s why they tend to migrate to the waters near power plants in Florida during the winter months. Once summer hits, they will sometimes make their way back up north and are commonly seen along the Eastern Seaboard through Virginia. In extremely rare instances, manatees have been seen further north, including a record-setting manatee who was spotted in Cape Cod more than a decade ago, according to the Save the Manatee Club.
Busy Schedule: Eating, Sleeping and Swimming
Manatees live quite the life! Since they don’t spend much time worrying about predators, they are often spotted finding food or catching a few Zs in the midday sun. They are known for being relaxed and slow-moving grazers, making them the sloths of the sea.
They Are the Reason for the Season
Unfortunately, many manatees have been killed over the years by boaters. To combat this problem, the state of Florida has established seasonal manatee zones. In these areas, which feature restrictions from April 1 through November 15, boaters must slow their boats and be on the lookout for manatees.
Woody’s Watersports provides Jet Ski and personal watercraft rentals for our customers to get out on the water and enjoy the thrill of watersports. In addition to allowing our guests to experience this fun on the water, we are also located near a TECO observation center where manatees often gather. During the summertime, they can also be frequently spotted offshore in cooler ocean waters. While a viewing is never a guarantee, there’s a chance your rental could feature a special guest appearance by one of these amazing animals.
To learn more about booking a personal watercraft or to make reservations, call us at 727-391-0200 today.