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Marco! Polo!


We love seeing Mama and Baby Manatees together!

Female manatees, which typically give birth every two to five years, will stay with their calf for up to two years.  The calf relies on its mother to learn about feeding and resting areas, travel routes and warm water refuges.

West Indian manatees communicate with touch and with vocalizations that sound like squeals and squeaks. Mother and calf recognize each other through these vocalizations, which help them to remain in contact.

Other fun facts about manatees:

  • West Indian manatees weigh up to 1,200 pounds and reach about 10 feet in length.
  • They eat up 15 percent of their body weight every day in sea grass and vegetation. That can be up to 150 pounds of food a day!
  • West Indian manatees migrate to warmer waters in the winter because exposure to temperatures lower than 68 degrees Fahrenheit can be deadly.  That’s why they tend to love traveling up to Manatee Park, a non-captive warm water refuge located in Fort Myers (right next to a large power plant that discharges warm water) where visitors can enjoy up-close-and-personal sightings of these wonderful creatures.  Optimum viewing months are late December, January, and February when the gulf temperature is below 68F (check for current gulf temperatures at SCCF Recon).  A sidewalk skirts the canal, leading to elevated observation areas that let visitors watch the big mammals dozing, lolling and poking their whiskered snouts out of the water to breathe.

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