15 Dec Give Mating Manatees the Space They Need
Female manatees know what it is like to be sought after — perhaps they feel a little too sought after. If you ever see what appears to be a large herd of manatees huddled together in the water, experts said they are likely mating. For every one female manatee, biologists said there can be up to 25 male manatees surrounding her, drawn to her pheromones.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tweeted out a reminder to be mindful of mating manatees. Earlier last year, the FWC produced a video featuring manatee biologist Kane Rigney explaining just how exhausting manatee mating season can be for the females of the species.
“There are a large number manatees that look to be frolicking with each other in shallow waters, generally climbing on top of each other,” Rigney said in the video.
They’re basically fighting over the one “focal” female.
Manatees have a long mating period that starts in the spring around March and can extend all the way to November.
Boaters could see a mating group of manatees in deeper waters and beachgoers could spot them on the shoreline. In recent years, a group of mating manatees stopped traffic near the Courtney Campbell Causeway as drivers gawked at the sight.
Sometimes, Rigney said, the manatees get close to shore because the female manatees will resort to trying to beach themselves to get away from the intense male attention.
Anyone who comes upon a group of mating manatees should leave them alone and keep their distance, Rigney said. Interfering with their mating habits could be considered harassment — it could also prove to be dangerous.
“Manatees mating have one thing in mind when they’re mating,” he said.