A manatee has wandered hundreds of miles out of its range to a fishing post at the southern tip of Texas, where it is delighting locals with its lumbering grace and penchant for showing its flippers and belly.
Manatee sightings in Texas are rare, usually involving complicated rescues of sick or injured creatures. But this manatee seems healthy, even playful, as it revels in the fresh water that rolls off boats being washed and the sea grasses that make this town a favorite for shallow-water sports fishing.
Water colder than 68 degrees can cause manatees to go into potentially fatal hypothermia that slows them down and causes them to stop eating. Florida manatees, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee found throughout the Caribbean, are migratory and vegetarian.
They live in saltwater but search by instinct for fresh water and underwater plants.
Once prevalent, their s have been depleted by humans — their only natural enemy. American Indians and early colonists hunted manatees for their bones, hides and blubber.
More recently, they have been killed by encounters with boats, fishing lines, dams and canal locks. The Port Mansfield manatee showed up earlier this month and now appears almost daily.
It is believed to be about 8 feet long and weigh between and pounds. An average adult is about 10 feet long and weighs between and 1, pounds. IE 11 is not supported.
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