Monday, January 30, 2006


Manatees Need Love, Too.

Meet Marvin and Marybeth the Manatees....OK, I actually have no idea what sex these 2 are, or what their real names are, but they are, indeed, Florida Manatees-- one of my favorite of all animals. I shot this picture a week or so ago.

They're a favorite because they're so frivolous. They probably serve no greater purpose than to just be manatees. Nothing feeds on them. They're herbivores. The chain of life could probably continue unbroken if there had never been a manatee. They're are a little like golden retreivers-- sweet, easygoing and really seem kind-of clueless.

They are, in some ways, animals who have become endangered because largely they belong to an earlier era when life was more leisurely, people were in less of a hurry, and power on the ocean was measured by how fast the current, the wind, or your own strength could propel you. They were never made for a time when cellphones, high speed internet access, and fast food were the icons of society.

They're too gentlehearted to be afraid of people. The law prohibits people from approaching them, but they've been known to approach small boats, divers and swimmers out of curiousity. They live in both salt and brackish waters, and tend to hang out in shipping lanes, and near power plants, warm springs, and other places where the water is shallow and warm.

What we do know is that they get hit by boats a lot --maybe not because they are so dumb but because recent research indicates that they may be deaf to many of the frequencies produced by boat motors. The also don't move very fast, don't have anything similar to dolphins echolocation, and may not see very well.

Can you spell sitting duck? This is like picking on the little kid because he can't run fast enough to catch you and kick your butt when you're being mean to him. So if you're a boater and you see speed limits and manatee watch indicators posted in coastal areas, pay attention, and keep an eye out for Marvin and Marybeth, and their friends. It may take you five minutes longer to get where you're going, but it will still be worth getting there when you arrive.

If you want to learn more about manateees, and what you can do to help protect them from humans and from themselves, you can go to And while you're there, take a look at their "Adopt a Manatee" for Valentine's Day program. It's a lot more creative and fun than chocolate. Posted by Picasa

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