Sighting: Manatee with a Big Smile

In May, Barbara from Merritt Island, Florida, snapped these photos of a manatee taking a leisurely back float in her canal and enjoying the nice weather.

Bill and Barbara Broughton, former Florida residents and longtime supporters of the Club, recently forwarded photos taken by Barbara's mother, another Barbara who lives on a canal in Merritt Island, FL. "Thought you would enjoy this picture," said Barbara. "Mom caught this manatee cruisin' down the canal catching rays."

"Ahhh, a little more sun on the belly, please."

Manatees spend a good deal of their day eating, resting, and swimming. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? They spend approximately six to eight hours a day feeding and rest for approximately two to twelve hours.

Typically, manatees swim through the water by moving their flat, paddle-shaped tail. They use their flippers for steering, crawling along the water bottom, and for holding food.

Manatees can also be quite playful. They have been seen doing barrel rolls, head stands, tail stands, somersaults, and upside-down gliding, which is what Barbara likely observed.

A bit later, she snapped a shot of what could have been cavorting or a possible mating herd. "Mom said it looked like they were celebrating Mothers Day," said Barbara. "What a hoot! The manatees bring her such joy!"

Cavorting manatees or a mating herd. Either way, it's nice to see manatees involved in a joyous activity.