A few days ago I noticed a commotion in the creek out back which I’ve come to recognize as a manatee visit. I got Jim and we went out back to take a look. We could tell that it was several manatees. Normally they graze on the mangroves by the creek banks, but on this day it was different.
They were away from the bank, constantly rolling and breaking the surface of the water.
One of the manatees appeared to have boat propeller injuries across its back.
We watched for ages, with my hubby kindly holding an umbrella over me so that I could take photos.
I wondered if the manatee with the propeller marks was in distress and if the others were trying to help it out. I also thought maybe one of the manatees might be giving birth. I decided to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to see if they had any idea what was going on.
As it turns out we were observing a “mating herd”, typical mating behavior for manatees. I was told that the female is surrounded by multiple males, and, not being very picky, may mate with several of them. This behavior can go on for hours, which it did.
I’ve been amazed at the number of manatee sightings we’ve had this year, considering that we didn’t see any in all of 2011. It’s really fun to spot them in our back yard.