Aug 1, 2023 - News

Florida sheriff's office: Stop calling the cops on manatee sex

Illustration of a pattern of manatees.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Give the manatees some privacy, folks!

Driving the news: It's manatee mating season, and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office posted on social media during the weekend with a reminder: If you see them going at it, don't call us.

  • The agency shared a video of a herd of manatees close to the shore engaged in The Deed paired with Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On."
  • "We get calls all the time from citizens when they see this, believing the manatees are in distress," the agency wrote. "We can assure you they are more than fine."

Plus: Don't go near them either, says the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It's dangerous — manatees are large, strong and focused on mating, so getting too close could end in some serious injuries for humans — and it can interrupt nature taking its course.

Why it matters: Nearly 400 manatees have died this year, per FWC data, and we're just a couple years off an Unusual Mortality Event that saw more than 1,000 of the beloved sea mammals die in 2021. Mating time is crucial.

Be smart: Manatee mating consists of a bunch of male manatees stumbling over each other to get under a female manatee, according to FWC. The female manatee usually hangs out in shallow water while the males come and go throughout the day.

  • Peak mating season is in the summer.
  • If a female manatee gets pregnant, she'll carry the baby for about 13 months. Manatee calves stay with their mom for about two years, per FWC.

Yes, but: If you are concerned about a mating group or see an injured or dead manatee, you can call FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 800-404-3922.


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