November is Manatee Awareness Month, and we thought what better way to celebrate than to raise awareness of the West Indian Manatee, or Trichechus Manatus, the majestic sea cows that call the Indian River Lagoon Home. So, get your sea legs ready sailor we’re about to embark on a marvelous manatee adventure.
- The West Indian Manatee is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the coastal waters of the US.
- Hunting from the 1500s to the 1800s diminished their population greatly.
- You can spot a manatee by noticing a “flat” circular shape in the otherwise moving current of the Indian River Lagoon. This is their tail moving underwater, soon you’ll see their snout and cute little face.
- Adult manatees weigh about two thousand pounds
- Manatee calves weigh about 60 pounds.
- Manatees are called sea cows because they eat only sea grass.
- Manatees lose teeth much like sharks. Once they’ve worn them down from eating so much grass, old ones fall out and new ones come up on a “conveyer-belt” like system. They go through about 30 molars in a lifetime.
- Manatees are closely related to elephants.
- Manatees are thought to be the reason behind the folklore of mermaids.
The best part about manatees is that they call our humble estuary home. Their migratory patterns bring pods of them to the Indian River Lagoon and they can be spotted right from your boat. This also, is a bit of a problem. Manatees are very slow creatures and hundreds of them are injured every year by fast moving boats. Next time you call to reserve your boat for an afternoon of manatee watching, make sure that you follow all posted signs to slow down for manatees.
Happy manatee awareness month from 321 Boat Club! Next time you’re out taking advantage of your boat club membership, be on the lookout for manatees!