Oh the huge manatees...
May 9, 2012 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Manatees visit the beach in South Florida. Social visit or Family Guy Writer's Meeting? You decide.
posted by zachlipton (33 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yeah, that's a mating pack.
posted by penduluum at 11:09 AM on May 9, 2012


I thought this was a snarky shot at fat Americans until I saw the actual manatee.
posted by DU at 11:10 AM on May 9, 2012


tied with the walrus and porpoise for most huggable aquatic creature
posted by facetious at 11:10 AM on May 9, 2012


Such cool creatures. But I kinda want to yell at everybody to get off the beach.
posted by penduluum at 11:10 AM on May 9, 2012


Such cool creatures. But I kinda want to yell at everybody to get off the beach.

Yeah... It seems the lifeguards tried to get everyone to clear out of the water, but this wasn't widely obeyed. Moving away from the ginormous sea creatures is really a best practice I would say.
posted by zachlipton at 11:14 AM on May 9, 2012


Manatees are great fun - I was almost killed by one.

When a 1000 lb. creature the size of a hatchback drifts towards you, almost pinning you between it and the other 1000 lb creature, it can be a little nerve-wracking.

They are also extremely cute when they sleep. The manatees I've seen in the wild almost always have boat propeller scars on their backs and tails, which, when healed, look like a string of / / / / / in white.

They get barnacles when living in the ocean, which promptly fall off when they swim to the freshwater springs. Manatees have been spotted as far north as Sleepy Hollow, on the Hudson River.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:16 AM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


At first I thought there was a serious disturbance in the water, but then I decided it was just a fluke.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:20 AM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Manatees have been spotted as far north as Sleepy Hollow, on the Hudson River.

Even further...Cape Cod Bay.
posted by Consult The Oracle at 11:23 AM on May 9, 2012


Manatees are great fun - I was almost killed by one.

This sentence deserves at least a semi-colon in the middle
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:23 AM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


tied with the walrus and porpoise for most huggable aquatic creature

technically the octopus is the most huggable due to the potential for multiple hugs at once, but I'll give you "one of the most huggable aquatic mammals".

wait but otters
posted by elizardbits at 11:26 AM on May 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


Yeah, that's a mating pack.

Manatorgy?
posted by SomaSoda at 11:28 AM on May 9, 2012


Yeah, that's a mating pack.

Once you go manatee, you never go back.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:30 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Technically an octopus can apply four hugs at once (or eight if you consider one arm a hug, but that seems somewhat impersonal as cephalopod hugs go), but you can still only hug one at a time.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:31 AM on May 9, 2012


almost pinning you between it and the other 1000 lb creature

wait but otters


Oh man, added to bucket list: get trapped between otters and a manatee.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 11:34 AM on May 9, 2012


When a 1000 lb. creature the size of a hatchback drifts towards you

I had this adorable little guy decide I was great fun to explore while I was kayaking. Not much for me to do besides sit still, avoid clubbing him in the head with my paddle, and snap away with my camera. Pretty cute until I realize they weigh up to 1,000 pounds (full length shot of a different seal) and I'm sitting in a teeny boat surrounded by absurdly cold water that I (and my camera!) did not want to visit. Incredibly terrifying when he dives down and disappears directly under my kayak, scraping the bottom of the cockpit slightly and emerging right on the other side.

Try as we might, nature sometimes just doesn't get the whole "look but don't touch" rule.
posted by zachlipton at 11:34 AM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


I read something recently about the evolution of marine mammals.

Hippo-like creatures --> Cetaceans -- > Whales and dolphins
Bear-like creatures --> Pinnipeds --> Seals, sea lions and walruses
Cow-like creatures --> Sirenians-- > Manatees

Fascinating.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:37 AM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


wait but otters

You couldn't pay me enough to hug a wild otter.

Otters are swimming weasels and they can mess you up real good.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:40 AM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


> tied with the walrus and porpoise for most huggable aquatic creature

Considering porpoises will try to mate with you and walruses can gore and chomp on you, the safe money is on the manatee for being the easiest to hug.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:44 AM on May 9, 2012


Cool Papa Bell, a great book that covers that (as well as other ocean and evolution-related topics) is Aquagenesis

Humanity has already wiped out one species of sirenian, and the rest are endangered.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:44 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Humans ankle-deep in the sea with camera phones filming other mammals engaged in mating. Welcome to the modern-day Far Side cartoon.
posted by obscurator at 12:07 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, that's a mating pack.

Oh! The huge manatee!
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:13 PM on May 9, 2012


Well that was profoundly disturbing, it looked to me like a lone female being assaulted by a gang of bachelor males. Wikipedeia mentions that female West Indian Manatees form mating herds while in estrus, and this wasn't that.

However, it wasn't really the critters that disturbed me, it was the people. It was clear that the folks on the beach saw what was happening and saw the occasion through an anthropomorphic lens, but saw nothing wrong with the assault, just listen to the little boy at 5:35,

"Where you goin, I ain't finished yet."

I'm not saying that anyone should have necessarily stopped it, but damn is this something that would need to be unpacked in an age appropriate manner for those kids, and that boy in particular.

*shudder*
posted by Blasdelb at 12:14 PM on May 9, 2012


saw the occasion through an anthropomorphic lens

You just described the mating behavior of an animal as an "assault" with a troubling moral component. I honestly can't tell if you're being ironic or not.
posted by saladin at 12:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oops, nevermind, I just re-read your comment, and now it makes total sense. My bad!
posted by saladin at 12:22 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I sort of like the idea of crowding in among a group of 1000 pound animals that are trying to mate. Something poetic about it--blubbered to death in two feet of water. Awwww....
posted by mule98J at 12:24 PM on May 9, 2012


Manatees are great fun
I was almost killed by one
But that wasn't the craziest thing I've done
posted by euphorb at 12:24 PM on May 9, 2012


When I was working as a beach lifeguard in NE Florida we would have manatees visit the beach sometimes. It was always neat, but a source of concern for us for two main reasons: first, because they'd occasionally beach themselves (which meant we'd sometimes have to wait on the beach until after dark to ensure that they made it back out to sea during the next high tide) and because of the obvious danger they posed to beachgoers (they're usually very placid, but will often thrash wildly if they sense they're getting in to overly-shallow water).

One very crowded day, a group of maybe six individuals swam in to the shallow water right in front of my tower. I jumped down to make sure that the beach patrons kept a wide perimeter, but got a call on the radio from the beach captain wanting to know what was going on, as he had just heard from emergency dispatch that several people had called 911 to report the manatees (typical tourists!). Replying via the radio that EVERY OTHER GUARD ON THE BEACH WAS LISTENING TO BECAUSE IT'S THE ONLY CHANNEL WE HAD I assured him that everything was fine, they weren't beaching themselves, that no beach patrons were close enough to get in trouble, and that they just "appeared to be mating."

That year at the lifeguard annual banquet, not only did I win the Golden Mike award for the year's stupidest radio traffic, I also got a cheesy airbrushed manatee towel, a manatee necklace, and a picture of a surprised-looking kid in coke-bottle glasses with the caption "are those manatees mating?!?!"
posted by saladin at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I sort of like the idea of crowding in among a group of 1000 pound animals that are trying to mate.

Ramada Inn, Monday, "Big Beautiful Singles Night." Be there.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:03 PM on May 9, 2012


Are we sure it was a manatee mating pack?
Could have been a Dugong-bang.
posted by bartleby at 1:58 PM on May 9, 2012


Manatees squeak and have prehensile lips. They also have natural nose plugs, and nipples in the armflipper-pits. The ones I've swam with liked getting scratched (mostly) and were frightened by SCUBA gear.

If you want to see manatees, the freshwater springs of Florida are the best way.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:15 PM on May 9, 2012


When I come up from 'round the horn
I found a gal what makes me beam
She holds me in her supple flippers
Darlin' lady of my dreams

Manatee! Sweet manatee!
Your mustache bristles tickle me
In places no one ever sees
My soft and loving manatee

I found her bobbin' in the surf
Her briny smile enchanting me
We hauled her up and gave her lovin'
A buoyant lass you would agree!

Manatee! Sweet manatee!
My buxom bovine from the sea
Oh, wont you come and marry me?
My warm and flaccid manatee-

-- Steve Purcell, Sam & Max: Freelance Police
posted by hackwolf at 3:30 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Blasdelb, the Wikipedia article isn't clear enough and you've fallen prey to a misunderstanding of mating herd. The estrous herd is a lone female and a buncha males.

You should see what it looks like when mallards mate. Because ducks can hold on in no other way, it's a huge pack of males grabbing the single female's neck in their beaks, and generally she's half-drowned by the end of the experience. It's super-disturbing. But this is why children should be taught from the earliest age that anthropomorphizing is like all other forms of let's-pretend.
posted by gingerest at 4:42 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the correction gingerest, I'm glad it wasn't an example of disrupted breeding patterns.

What disturbed me still stands though, this is still a large crowd of people anthropomorphizing a herd of bachelor males pursuing a fleeing female manatee and violently mating with her as funny and 'sweet', which is blood-chillingly terrifying. Particularly the one small boy who clearly understands the violent and sexual nature of the event and identifies with the violence of the male manatees, "Where you goin', I ain't finished yet."

He is going to grow up someday, he is going to regularly be in situations with people who will be absolutely vulnerable to the aspects of rape culture that he has already internalized.

Fuck this is chilling,

"Where you goin', I ain't finished yet."
posted by Blasdelb at 5:05 PM on May 9, 2012


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