Dear Florida: Stop Messing With Mating Manatees | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Dear Florida: Stop Messing With Mating Manatees

But in Florida, residents are being asked to stop bothering manatees while they're trying to get it on

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Image: NOAA

Manatees are some of the cutest marine animals out there. They’re awkward, blubbery, slow-moving and perfect for our affection. But in Florida, residents are being asked to stop bothering them while they’re trying to get it on.

As WTSP writes:

People have been observed getting in the water and trying to interact with the herds, but that can disrupt their normal mating behavior. And with manatees weighing around 1,000 pounds, people getting too close risk injury.

While the groups of up to 20 manatees appearing in shallow waters along the beach do attract attention, Mote scientists say they are exhibiting normal behavior and there’s no cause for alarm. The gatherings happen when males try to mate with females that are ready to conceive and when the females try to evade them.

So the herds of manatees just off of Siesta Beach aren’t there for your affection, they’re there to show affection to their fellow manatees. And hopefully make some babies. Manatees are an endangered species, and their size and speed make them prime targets for ship strikes and entanglement in nets.

Scientists are, therefore, warning people to get out of the water and leave the manatees alone. As the Miami New Times puts it, “Unfortunately, manatees do not have any door knobs to hang socks on to notify you that they need privacy. So just take the hint and let the manatees get it on in peace.”

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Your Kind of Town: Miami, Fla.

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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