Manatees definitely have a gentle soul. I’ve observed a lot of male and female manatee behavior and I can assure you they feel tenderness and have a heart!
Next in my series of telling the stories behind various images, is this “tender touch”. I posted this photograph on Friday’s “International Day of Peace”. We can certainly learn something from the peaceful manatees!
A male manatee nudges a female with a gentle touch on her forehead. Nikon d7200 in Subal housing/8″ dome/Tokina 10-17/natural light. March 2018, Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.You may have seen news photos or video of groups of manatees mating in what is called mating herds. These large and active groups might lead one to neglect to realize manatees also have this gently tender side. There is a lot of touching, caressing and cavorting that goes on between manatees under the water’s surface. While I’ve observed that some of the younger, more eager male manatee’s less subtle approach makes female manatees almost immediately retreat, more experienced manatees have learned how to tenderly get the female’s attention. That behavior is shown to a “T” in this photograph. The male approached slowly from my right and ever so gently touched the female manatee’s snout. She did not swim away!
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to observe these two and the other manatees present on this beautiful March day. As you may know chances to see manatees underwater have been reduced in the last couple of years, but there are still some times when one can be blessed with perfect conditions and a bit of luck.
It is still a deeply profound experience to observe manatees in their watery world on their own terms. I encourage you to go have that experience. It’s one you will never forget!
If you are interested in seeing what the *other* less gentle form of manatee courtship looks like here’s a video I took near where I live. This is a mating manatee herd thundering through Clearwater Harbor Marina on April 9, 2016, going right in front of Downtown’s Coachman Park. Did you know there were once freshwater springs at Coachman Park but they were filled in many years ago. Maybe the manatees remember?
More to come,