Not too long ago we were reporting on excess manatee deaths in Florida. Now, however the problem is different. Raucous manatee sex is disturbing the neighbors (so-to-speak). The neighbors are calling the sheriff’s and the sheriff’s are asking for the calls to stop. Apparently the manatees copulate close to shore and visitors mistake the action for distress.
Pinellas County sheriff’s took to social media and posted a video of the manatees getting-it-on close to shore. According to USA Today:
“We get calls all the time from citizens when they see this, believing the manatees are in distress. We can assure you they are more than fine,” reads the post which is accompanied by a video clip of the creatures gathered close to the shore.
Manatee copulation can be dangerous for those involved. “Hugh” a beloved captive manatee recently died of colon and other injuries sustained during what is described as an “intense” sexual encounter with his brother.
Sex between Hugh and his brother Buffet was described as natural. The paper said veterinarians advised staff to monitor the mammals closely. Efforts to distract them did not work. The paper said they did not see signs of distress and elected not to separate the animals. The matter is under investigation.
In the last several years high numbers of manatee deaths have worried Florida officials. About 1,000 died in 2021. The manatee (Trichecus manatus) is believed to number about 13,000 world wide with about 6,500 in United States waters.
The dire situation has led some conservation groups to consider whether to sue and others to find ways to feed the manatees. The lawsuit would target the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for not keeping the manatee’s water habitat clean enough for their food to grow. Friends of the manatees want the animals returned to endangered status.
Florida manatees are large slow moving marine animals that tend to winter in Florida. In other times of the year the creatures disperse as far as Texas and Massachusetts. Usually herbivores, they do sometimes ingest small creatures. The rising death rate appears closely linked to the disappearance of their primary food source. Manatees consume seagrass as the bulk of their diet. In one manatee habitat, seagrass is down 58 percent over the last 11 years.
Manatees are also subject to boating accidents and other fatal contact with humans,