Earlier this month, I traveled to Crystal River, Florida to capture the West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatees) with underwater photo gear – essentially a underwater housing for my Canon 5D Mark III. Following are a few of the photographic results from the trip plus some interesting manatee facts. Enjoy!
Manatee Fact #1: Sailors once believed these animals to be sirens from the deep, mythical mermaids coming to call. This certainly says less about the manatee’s obvious sex appeal (they are pretty cute, aren’t they?) and more about – well, how do I put this politely – the sailors’ loneliness and desperation for companionship after being at sea too long.
Manatee Fact #2: Manatees cannot survive for long in water colder than 60 degrees F (15C). For this reason, they seek out warm water springs in to seek refuge from the frigid Gulf of Mexico during the winter months.
Manatee Fact #3: The manatee’s closest living relative is the elephant. By their appearance alone, I thought this to be a somewhat obvious fact but apparently it has something to do with the number of fingernails both species possess.
Manatee Fact #4: Manatees have no natural predators. The biggest hazard they encounter are the props from motor boats which has lead to them being included on the endangered species list.
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