I hope we see a manatee!

We traveled down to Florida to view the final space shuttle launch, STS-135 space shuttle Atlantis, on July 8th. While here, we decided to check out the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which sits right next to the Kennedy Space Center. What an interesting mix–nature and technology! While at the visitor center, I struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers and mentioned that we were going to head to the Manatee Observation Deck. She quickly told me not to waste my time over there, because she had just heard reports of approximately 20 manatees in a different area. I thanked her for the tip, and we quickly headed toward Bairs Cove. She was right! We counted at least 15 manatees swimming in the water very close to the boat dock.

What a cute little nose! I guess that's the only little thing on this fellow, as manatees can grow up to 12 feet long and weigh up to 2000 pounds!

When we got there, I struck up a conversation with another lady and she pointed out a good spot to watch the manatees. She even told me that I should talk, rather than sit quietly, as ‘human noise’ seemed to attract the curious creatures. It appears that she gave me good advice, because as soon as I started to talking to one manatee that kept sticking his nose up out of the water, three more of his friends showed up.

I was captivated by them and I watched them for a long time. I loved how the rolled over slowly, flopped their tails, and poked their noses out of the water just high enough to get a breath of fresh air. It seems they need to take a breath once about every three to four minutes. I read that Manatees can eat up to 200 pounds of seagrass and other plant life in a single day!

Our talking seemed to attract several curious manatees. We started talking to one big guy, and before long four of them were crowded below us.

If you look very carefully, you can see the manatee's large flat tail.

Another Friendly Manatee Pops Up to Say Hello!

There were about 15 manatees (that we could see) in the Bairs Cove boat launch area. Can you see the black spot in the middle? That's the back of a manatee. If you look carefully at the sign, you will see a pelican perched on top of it.

As soon as I took this picture the pelican must have decided it was time for lunch and flew away!

This fellow kept an eye on us as we walked back to our car.







As we headed back to the car, Pierre told me to look up at a sign. What I saw startled me…a black vulture was staring back at us. He seemed as curious about us as we were about him as he watched us walk past. We had seen many of these birds making huge sweeping circles in the sky above us earlier in the day, so it was very interesting to see one up close.

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10 Responses to “Polly #3 Meets a Manatee”

  1. I love watching the manatees. They are so curious, and ugly in an adorable way!

  2. Dear Polly#3, Was the manatee big? Love Arianna

  3. Dear Arianna,
    Yes, the manatees were very big! They were very friendly, too. They came right to where we were sitting and poked their noses out of the water. I was very tempted to swim with them, but Mrs. Schneider said I would get the car wet. She didn’t have a towel for me! A frog has to be careful around the water in Florida…we saw lots of alligators and I think they would have loved to eat me as a snack. Have you ever visited Florida? We drove down to watch the very last space shuttle launch. It was amazing!
    Polly #3

  4. Did you like seeing them?

  5. Do you like to travel?

  6. Dear Polly #3,
    Manatees are so cute! Do you like manatees? I sure do!

  7. Dear Polly #3,
    I liked it when you started talking to your husband and the manatees popped up. Did the manatees get really, really close?

  8. Trenton,
    It really was amazing. I thought the woman that told me to talk to the manatees was teasing me, but in reality, she gave me a really good tip. Like I told you in class, after we started talking, the manatees swam very close to the dock we were standing on. They were so close, I could have reached out and touched them, but I didn’t because they are wild animals. We watched them for a very long time!
    Thanks for writing!
    Mrs. Schneider & Polly #3

  9. Dulce,
    Traveling is one of my favorite things to do! I enjoy meeting new people, seeing new things, and of course I love learning about all of the places that I visit! When I was in Florida, I learned that manatees are very gentle and curious animals. Many of them are killed every year by motor boats, which is so sad, so humans need to make an effort to protect these friendly creatures by not speeding through areas where manatees live!

    Mrs. Schneider & Polly #3

  10. Well good to know.