The newborn manatees and their mom. (Photo: Citrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Manatee twins are rare — only two percent of all births. And it’s even more astonishing to see newborn twins. But a set were spotted swimming with their mama in the waters of Homosassa Springs, Fla. this week.
According to said Ivan Vicente, a visitor services specialist with Fish and Wildlife Services, usually nursing manatee mothers isolate themselves in low trafficked areas to keep their calves protected. But this family has made an extraordinary appearance.
Vicente predicts the mother will remain in the more secluded springs of Homosassa for the next few weeks until she feels confident enough to introduce her calves along the coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico.
“Manatee spotting in the summertime is particularly special because that’s when you can see — and actually swim with — the babies,” says Adam Thomas of the Citrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “[W]ords truly cannot express how amazing it is to be graced by one of these gentle giants —especially when you see twins swimming alongside Mom.”
Manatees, which grow to about 13 feet long, are actually related to elephants. (Some might say they are the elephants of the ocean!) Florida manatees are federally protected and remain on the endangered species list. There are less than 6,000 in and around the state of Florida.