Tis the time of year when the mammals known as Manatee get a little randy and meet up for their annual mating season. Our friends at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota are wanting to remind boaters and beach-goers that while the event may be interesting and curious to watch, it is in the best interest of the animals and yourselves to stay clear.
Summer is the key season for these giants of the sea to come together to make baby manatees, and with these gentle giants already on an uphill battle to stay healthy and alive, messing up their dates can have a lasting impact.
Makes are trying to mate with their ready-to-conceive ladies, often with said ladies trying to evade her male suitors. Large groups of up to a dozen manatee will gather along the shallow waters and beaches in their quest for a date.
Mating herds can last several weeks and be highly active while individual manatees may also rest at the surface for several hours. This typical behavior is nothing to cause concern, but if you are, please call the proper people to investigate. (Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program at 941-988-0212)
Please remember these tips provided to us by Mote Marine Laboratory:
* Watch the manatees from at least 100 feet away. Coming any closer might disrupt the animals’ natural mating behavior or put people into harm’s way. Adult manatees typically weigh upwards of 1,000 pounds and people could be seriously injured.
* Try to push the animals back to deeper water. Animals such as manatees or dolphins can be injured when people try to push them along the sandy shore. Given their size, manatees especially also pose a danger to people.
* Feed, water or harass manatees. Federal and state laws forbid “harassing” them – harassment includes offering them food or water.
* Litter. Please be careful with your trash and carry out everything you carried to the beach.
If you see a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle within Sarasota or Manatee County waters, please call Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program at 941-988-0212.
If you see a stranded or dead manatee anywhere in state waters or a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle outside of Sarasota or Manatee counties please call the FWC Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).