5 Reasons Why Manatees are Important

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Manatees are a living icon of Florida just like Mickey Mouse, orange juice and the beaches. The lovable sea cows are a critical tourist attraction, bringing more than 70,000 people to Crystal River annually to see and swim with them. Endowed with a passive and non-aggressive demeanor, manatees are not only fun to watch but also provide fascinating lessons about how they live. They are also part of a thriving ecosystem in which they eat plants and control the growth of vegetation that can obstruct Florida waterways.Here are 5 reasons why manatees are important:

1. Control vegetation that can obstruct Florida waterways
Manatees are exclusively herbivorous mammals and one of the only surviving marine mammals that does not eat other animals. A manatee is a huge creature that consumes up to 110 pounds of vegetation daily, spending most of its time grazing and munching water grasses and algae. As a result, the manatees control the growth of water vegetation and prevent overgrowth that may lead to obstruction of Florida waterways.

2. Essential part of a thriving ecosystem
Like other animals, manatees are a part of a much larger system in which various components are interdependent. They eat local vegetation in huge quantities and excrete the digested plants to fertilize surrounding environments. As a result, manatees keep vegetation growth under control while also providing the fertilizer to enable water vegetation to thrive. And since manatees eat only vegetation, they are not a threat to other water animals.

3. Incredibly devoted to their young ones
Manatees are remarkably committed to the survival of their species. They take care of their young ones with great tenderness, selflessness and compassion. For instance, since their calves are born underwater without the capacity to swim on their own, manatee mothers have to guide their babies and carry them to the water surface to breathe soon after birth. The calves are nursed and helped until they can swim and live on their own.

4. Fun to watch and learn from
Manatees are gentle and playful sea cows. They live exclusively in water and use swimming as their primary form of locomotion. It is nice to watch them “barrel roll” or body surf, a maneuver where the animals spin in a 360-degree motion. It is also exciting to watch them play around in the waves. And because they have 6 vertebrae, manatees have to turn their bodies to look at anything that catches their attention. This makes it fun to interact with manatees as you can easily know when they are paying attention to you. We also can learn a lot from their passive and non-aggressive nature.

5. Key driver of a flourishing ecotourism
Ecotourism is a critical component of a booming tourist industry in Florida. More than 70,000 people travel to Crystal River annually just to see and swim with the manatees. Several manatee tour companies have been established in Florida to give the visitors the most memorable experiences. Likewise, various local businesses including hotels, restaurants and travel agencies depend on the increasing number of tourists for income while many locals are employed in different organizations associated with the manatees. Therefore, manatees are very important to the local economy.

For more information on manatee tours, visit the site Swimming with the Manatees.

Swimming with the Manatees boasts the best water adventure in Crystal River, Florida with lots of things to do for you and your family. For more information, contact us online, or call us at (352) 571-1888.

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