Manatees, twins born in Florida waters, a rare treat!
What’s small grey and cute, two baby manatees! Even better that’s just what anyone who visits Florida’s Homosassa Springs can find after a rare birth of twins in the wild.
The sighting is extremely rare, since on average, only one calf is born to a manatee every 2 to 5 years. The odds for twins is only 1 in 50 births. “Been doing this almost 15 years and never seen an infant, twins ever and I’m out there every day.” said Gene Parker, a manatee tour guide in the area. Parker owns a tour business called Snorkel with Manatees. He hit the jackpot on this July 11th when he captured the rare encounter on video during a guided tour. “We immediately stopped the boat to observe and she brought them by the boat.” Parker said. “It was almost like she was showing off her newborns.”
“In the past 10 years, maybe I’ve spotted a dozen sets of twins but never once have I seen them in the springs nor have I seen a mother and her calves quite so visible in Homosassa waters.” Ivan Vicente said, the Fish and Wildlife Service. Vicente said when the video was taken the twins were between 7 and 14 days old. Which only makes it even more of a rare sites, since manatees, when babies are that young the mother is hiding out of sight protecting them, so seeing infant twins is very unusual.
“Once they nurse for a month or so then they expose them to the real world of coastal Florida.” Vicente said. Parker said he actually seen this family three days in a row. He’s asking other boaters around Homosassa to be very careful. “Just be aware of what’s going on in these areas but I think if they are not hit by a boat, they will do well.” he said.
Manatees are a favorite sighting of Florida visitors, as they are a peaceful and majestic creature that is sure to catch your eye in the water. They congregate in coastal waterways during the summer time and in the winter you will find these creatures closer to the power plants. They are also on the federal endangered species list, with fewer than 6,000 remaining, that being a high for their numbers, and are frequent victims of strikes from boats and personal watercraft.
Because of this, manatees remain protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports on its website. Through those acts it makes it illegal to “harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine mammal.” Florida’s own Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978 makes it “unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass or disturb any manatee.”
Violation of Florida’s law comes with a hefty fine up to $500 and 60 days of jail time. A violation of the federal laws can come to carry a larger more serious fine for up to a $50,000 fine and/or a year in prison.
Manatees can grow up to more than 13 feet in length and may weigh more than 3,500 pounds, the state reports. They are found throughout Florida’s coastal waters and in its rivers, surviving on a diet that’s plant based.
As for Crystal River’s manatee family, wildlife officials estimate the mother will keep the twins in the area for a few weeks before heading out to coastal waters.
There, manatees have been known to live up to 80 years, growing up to 13 feet in length, and weighing up to 1,300 pounds, USA Today reported.
“The winter months draw the largest number of manatees to Crystal River. Manatee spotting in the summertime is particularly special because that’s when you can see — and actually swim —with the babies,” said Adam Thomas, director of the Citrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Citrus County is the only place in the United States where you can legally get in the water and swim with the manatees in the winter months. Words truly can not express how amazing it is to be graced by one of these gentle giants — especially when you see twins swimming alongside Mom.”
This is certainly not something you would want to miss if you are in the area. If you are not, there are a few pictures attached to allow you to see this rare and adorable family.
Here you will find a video of this rare and awesome site, you will definitely want to watch this!