It is now time to see the West Indian manatees at Lovers Key State Park as they will be making their annual visit from now until the first part of March. These animals are highly endangered, so the more people become aware of them, the less likely it will be that they disappear entirely. As with any form of marine life, view them from a distance while giving them enough space that they will stay relaxed.

Size and Description

It is hard to miss a full-grown manatee as they can grow up to 11 feet long and weigh up to 1,320 pounds.The light brown or gray manatees that come to visit our park are usually some of the biggest in the world. These animals are the largest of all known sirenians. They often live up to 28 years in the wild and have been known to live over 60 years in captivity. At birth, manatees often are four feet long and weigh up to 60 pounds.

Watching the Manatees

Watching West Indian manatees from one of our kayaks or stand-up paddleboards is an excellent way to witness the antics of this animal fist hand as they are often seen somersaulting, rolling and swimming upside down. It is nearly impossible to witness one of these huge animals without falling in love with the strange creatures.

Food for the Manatees

Manatees routinely feed on about 60 different types of marine plants often spending up to eight hours eating each day. They are crucial for keeping algae in check in our waters. Scientists know that some male manatees eat the feces of female manatees. They believe that manatees do this because it gives them valuable information about the animal’s reproductive cycle. They often use their flippers to dig up plants buried on the seafloor and use their lips to manipulate plants so that they can get them in their mouths. If you look along the shores very carefully, you may find a manatee molar tooth because as they wear them down, their bodies grow new ones pushing the old ones out of the way.

Threats to Manatees

Scientists believe that over 38 percent of all West Indian manatees die because they come in contact with a motor boat or other manmade objects. They simply cannot get out of the way fast enough. Therefore, it is of particular importance to keep a sharp eye out for these animals during their stay near our state park. Manatees have a very low reproductive rate further endangering them.

Manatee Communication

If you listen extremely carefully, then you may be able to hear manatees talking to each other in chirps, whistles, or squeaks. Mothers and children are particularly vocal during the day as a way to keep track of each other’s locations. Mothers and calves are particularly vocal during the day as a way to keep track of each other’s locations.

We hope that you will mark your calendars to come see us very soon to learn more about the manatees. The more you learn, the more you will want to help protect this endangered species.

Lovers Key Adventures
8700 Estero Blvd,
Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
239-765-7788