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As many of you know, manatees are all over the southern states especially Florida. They may be a nuisance for boaters and result in lots of signs around protection this gentle sea cow. We know this first hand that we were given a bogus ticket back in Dinner Key.
One myth about them is that they are an exotic species brought to Florida. That is FALSE!
Some have even said that The Sirenia Manatees are thought to have evolved from four-legged land mammals over 60 million years ago, with the closest living relatives being the elephants and hyraxes. I have fond some great info about them on Wikipedia. Quite interesting read for a few minutes of time.
And also unfortunately like many other things in life that may be fun or good they are illegal. You may not feed, water or touch these sea cows. We found a girl who had been feeding it water and I had to take the opportunity to photograph it because it was a cool sight, but I did not feed nor water or touch it. Some people don’t listen. When it’s not your child you can only say too much. For those who do not have the ability to see these amazing animals on a daily basis, here are some photos for your enjoyment. Even can see it’s teeth! So cool, yet very illegal. Please only view them if you do see them, do not hurt, feed, water, or touch them.
For a list of laws protecting Manatees please look here. Very informative.
One of the more persistent misconceptions appearing in “Letter to the Editor” columns and comments in response to Service proposals includes the idea that the Florida manatee is an exotic, introduced species. This is not the case.
One source of the persistent “non-native species” myth may come from a study conducted in south Florida in the 1960′s. This study assessed the effectiveness of Florida manatees as a means to control exotic aquatic
plants and was based on similar work conducted with Antillean manatees in Guyana. While Antillean manatees were never brought to Florida for the purposes of the study, the study generated a lot of publicity and confusion about non-native manatees, exotic plants, and Florida’s manatees.
The Florida manatee is one of two sub species of the West Indian manatee. West Indian manatees are a species known to range from Brazil north to Mexico and the southeastern United States, including the Caribbean islands. This species includes two sub species, the Antillean manatee and the Florida manatee. The Antillean manatee ranges from Brazil to Mexico, including the Caribbean islands. The Florida manatee is found in the southeastern United States, with the core of its range here in Florida.
Manatees are well represented in Florida’s fossil record. Their remains date back to prehistoric times and they are one of the more common vertebrate fossils known from ancient marine deposits. Manatee remains are also found in Native American rubbish heaps in Florida, sites that pre-date the arrival of the early Spaniards. The early colonists described how these natives hunted the manatee and were quick to appreciate the intrinsic value of the species.”