Old School Manatees as Far as the Eye Can See

Apollo Beach Travel Blog

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Old School on the Right
West Indian or Old School Manatees are large, gray aquatic mammals with bodies that taper to a flat, paddle-shaped tail. They have two forelimbs, called flippers, with three to four nails. Their head and face are wrinkled with whiskers on the snout. The manatee's closest land relatives are the elephant and the hyrax, a small, gopher-sized mammal. Manatees are believed to have evolved from a wading, plant-eating animal. The West Indian manatee is related to the West African or New School manatee, the Amazonian or No School manatee, the dugong, and to the Stiller’s sea cow, which was hunted to extinction in 1768. The average adult manatee is about three meters (9.8 feet) long and weighs between 362-544 kilograms (800-1,200 pounds).

 Manatees can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, Old School canals and coastal areas.
Tampa Electric Power Plant Manatee Viewing Center
This blog & pictures are about the Old School Manatees at the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing center in Apollo Beach Florida, about 12 miles south of Old School’s Gibsonton Canal . http://www.tampaelectric.com/manatee/   Manatees gather when the temperature of bay water falls below 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Manatees are a migratory species. Some of the Old School Manatees have been visiting the Old School canal for years.  Within the United States, West Indian manatees are concentrated in Florida in the winter, but they can be found in summer months as far west as Texas and as far north as Virginia. However, these sightings are rare. Summer sightings in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are common. West Indian manatees can also be found in the coastal and inland waterways of Central America and along the northern coast of South America, although distribution in these areas may be spotty.
Let Me In the Buffett Line Too


Manatees are gentle and slow-moving. Most of their time is spent eating, resting, or on TravBuddy. Manatees are completely herbivorous. They eat aquatic plants and can consume 10-15% of their body weight daily in vegetation, which is the same amount of turkey & trimmings consumed on ThanksGiving Day by Old School.  They graze for food along water bottoms and on the surface. They may rest submerged at the bottom or just below the surface, coming up to breathe on the average of every three to five minutes. When manatees are using a great deal of energy, they may surface to breathe as often as every 30 seconds. When resting, manatees have been known to stay submerged for up to 20 minutes.

 West Indian manatees have no natural enemies, and it is believed they can live 60 years or more.
Bubbles
Many manatee mortalities are human-related. Most human-related manatee mortalities occur from collisions with watercraft. Other causes of human-related manatee mortalities include being crushed and/or drowned in canal locks and flood control structures; ingestion of fish hooks, litter and monofilament line; and entanglement in crab trap lines. Ultimately, however, loss of habitat is the most serious threat facing manatees today. There are approximately 3,000 West Indian manatees left in the United States.

 The reproductive rate for manatees is slow. Female manatees are not sexually mature until about five years of age, and males are mature at approximately nine years of age. On average, one calf is born every two to five years, and twins are rare.
7 in a Row
The gestation period is about a year. Mothers nurse their young for one to two years, so a calf may remain dependent on its mother during that time.

 West Indian manatees in the United States are protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which make it illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. West Indian manatees are also protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978 which states: "It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee." Anyone convicted of violating Florida's state law faces a possible maximum fine of $500 and/or imprisonment for up to 60 days. Conviction on the federal level is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and/or one year in prison.

 How anyone could harm such a kind & genteel animal is beyond me.  So please if you are enjoying the waters of Florida slow down, obey the posted speed & no wake signs & enjoy these natural treasures!!
gimpel says:
Thanks for the lesson....
Posted on: Jun 13, 2010
PhinsAndGills says:
THANKS for sharing! I've never seen a wild manatee (only zoo manatees). I've decided that if reincarnation is in fact correct, and I've been a good enough girl to be able to pick what I come back as, I'm coming back as a manatee! :)
Posted on: Jan 08, 2009
AtlantaScottyV says:
Ah, I remember visiting this place when I lived in Brandon. Very cool. I also remember being over on David Island once, sitting alongside the channel watching the Carnival Celebration leave port. A few minutes afterward a manatee suddenly came up for air and scared the crap out of me. Beautiful animals, though.
Posted on: Dec 29, 2008
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Old School on the Right
Old School on the Right
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Tampa Electric Power Plant Manate…
Let Me In the Buffett Line Too
Let Me In the Buffett Line Too
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photo by: oldschoolbill