"" Writer's Wanderings: Stampeding Manatees?

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Stampeding Manatees?

When I saw the newsletter from SmarterTravel with the headline, What To Do When Manatees Stampede, my initial response was, huh? Then I remembered one of the encounters we had in Florida a couple of years ago when it turned out it was mating season. We had kayaked into one of the channels around where our rental condo is and found an aggregation (group) of manatees. There were about six of them. We suspect it was five males and one female who was being very particular about who was going to have the privilege of procreation.

We sat still in the water watching the churning and stirring of the water when all of a sudden these usually slow and gentle creatures took off at record speed. Wow. They can really move and thankfully we weren't in the direct path. We decided to head the other direction since I don't think we could have paddled as fast as they moved.

Now comes a warning that they can stampede? In the Crystal River Refuge for manatees in the Kings Bay hundreds of manatees spend the winter months in order to stay warm. There are opportunities to view them from several venues including boats and kayaks and even snorkeling. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has set up guidelines for safe viewing for both the manatees and the viewers and produced the video below. At about 2:45 minutes into the eight minute video you see the manatees disturbed by something which makes them "stampede."

If you'd like to know more about other creatures in nature that may give you some trouble (like thieving monkeys) take a look at the TravelSmart article.

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