Gentle Giants or Manatees!
They are called Gentle Giants, these Manatees of Florida! Manatees and Sunsets of Florida are like no other!
The Manatees or Sea Cows as they are known, are the most amazing creatures in Florida waters. Their size is probably the most shocking. They are huge!
“See how curious I am? Is that a camera in your hand? All right Mr DeMille, … We are ready for our close-ups!”
These big bodied mammals with a face only a mother should love are on the brink of extinction! There are several reasons why. One reason is the boat motor injuries as these trusting, curious creatures swim close to boats as if to say …”welcome to the waterways, do you want to be my friend?” The response by some boaters is to speed by them clipping their tails or other parts of their huge bodies with the rudders of their boats. It is sad!
Another reason for the limited number of days in these waters, is they are kind of like me….they need warmth in the Winter time !!!
Florida manatees can’t survive in the cold; they may die when water temperatures drop below 68°. so when a cold snap hits Florida, the Manatees are the casualties. They hover in huge groups near any heat source such as a power plant. They are vegetarians and eat salt water sea grasses, algae, red mangrove seedlings and other aquatic plants.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the last three years, have had a high number of cold related deaths. An increase of an average of 30 deaths a year since 2009.
In 2010 a reported 766 Manatees died, some due to cold weather and others were related to injuries, mostly by boaters….and believe it or not, fishing line.
Despite federal and state efforts to protect the manatee, the future of this endangered species is far from assured.
The lettuce looks almost like the lettuce we eat in our salads….and many people have found out that fines follow anyone who tries to feed lettuce to the manatees!
I love this beautiful and magnificent creature and could watch them for hours especially around the warm waters near the power plant in Manatee Park during cooler months!
See Manatee Park here.
It only goes to show that there is a place for everything and everyone and all things are beautiful.
Enjoy your Tuesday!