Little Manatees Are Born To Explore!

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Here’s another short video I’ve shared on Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo chronicling baby manatee adventures! I think you will find manatee calves and their mothers are not so unlike us, in many many ways??

Little Manatees – Born To Explore! by Carol Grant on Vimeo:

I’ll have more video to come, but manatee season will be ramping up soon so forgive me if I’m busy underwater observing the precocious little manatees!

Best, Carol

 

Baby Manatees Are Too Cute!

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Baby animals have a particular penchant for being very cute! Little manatee calves rank right up there with the absolutely most adorable junior creatures I’ve encountered! I’d go out on a limb and say they are the “cutest” but I don’t want to upset any other animal moms, especially the mother humpback whales who I witnessed underwater showing off their own offspring a few years ago!

Since I upgraded my underwater camera outfit a couple of years ago to the Nikon d7200 I’ve been able to take some nice HD video and my catalog of clips of adorable young manatees is growing. I still have it housed in a trusty Subal underwater housing and their glass dome port works well for video also.  Before this camera that produces video I used a GoPro mounted on top of my setup and captured some incredible moments also, although not quite at the quality of my Nikon. Still, my video vaults are bursting at the seams with cute little manatee antics and I want to share them with you.

Here is the first in a series of manatee compilation videos. I will keep them under 60 seconds so I can post on Instagram, etc. Possibly I’ll put together a longer one if anyone can’t get enough of the pudgy little manatees?.     Best, Carol

Manatees Are Just Too Cute! On Vimeo:

 

Manatees Support Pink

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There is lots of “Pink” ? floating around for this October 2016 Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s important! Many of you know I’m a six-year breast cancer survivor who feels enormously blessed with each and every new day of life! But did you know manatees have intimate ties to our awareness crusade? Manatees get their name from the Carib Indian word “manati” which translates to “woman’s breast”. Possibly observing manatees nursing their little ones is the inspiration behind the original name? Or maybe the first inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands had tales of mermaids too? Early Spanish and Portuguese explorers adopted the local “manati” name for the marine mammal also, but they mistook the meaning for “two hands” which focused on the manatee’s two flippers that are quite “hand-like”.

“Manati” is the Original Carib Indian Name for the Manatee, the Root Word Meaning “Woman’s Breast”. See the Pink on this Manatee’s Forehead? Is She Participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Maybe Not Directly as the “Pink” is from Her Rubbing on a Boat Hull or Something Similar that Had Not Fully Dried Yet. Although, Who Really Knows What this Female Manatee is Communicating?

Our Gal Manatee Has Quite the Color Sense! Pink Paint from Rubbing on a Boat Hull or Something Similar is All Down Her Back! She’s into Pink!Manatee,pink paint,springs,©CarolGrant,

I photographed this pretty and charismatic manatee gal in February 2010. Continue reading

Wrinkles the Birthday Manatee

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Believe it or not, “I want more Wrinkles for my Birthday” said the 50-something year old lady. That’s me and that was my wish!? I have a tradition of setting out to observe manatees on my birthdays. This past February 11th I wondered what adventure awaited? Little did I know a very fat little male manatee calf with deep wrinkly folds that jiggled as he swam, was also in search of adventure! We met that day and here is his story in pictures and video:

I Have Seen Many Manatee Calves Underwater But “Wrinkles” Is Definitely One Of The Fattest! His Mom Feeds Him Well! Here He Is With Mom, Look At Those Fat Folds Of Wrinkles! Feb. 11th, 2016.manatee,Florida,calf,wrinkles,©CGrant

To celebrate my foray into Instagram, this photo and short video is the first thing I’m going to post @carolgrantinsta. Here’s the HD version of the video on Vimeo. Look at those precious deep fat wrinkly folds! Now that is a healthy male manatee calf – Well Done Mom! Continue reading

Leap Day Manatees

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Leap Day! It’s a phenomena that happens every four years at the end of February to keep our calendars on point. I look on it as an “extra” or “bonus” day, and who doesn’t need an extra day! ?

This Leap Day 2016 I wanted to use my day to go see what the manatees were up to. You may know I had a very lucky Leap Day in 2008 when I happened upon a newborn manatee in front of Three Sisters Springs. But more about that later… See, I also wanted to see the manatees on Leap Day 2012, although it was so hot so early, that the manatees had already skedaddled out of the springs to warmer, more food-rich waters. Thus I was determined to spend February 29, 2016, this recent past Leap Day, observing manatees as I felt it would be another lucky day. I was right!

A Female Manatee Is Quite Curious About The Company and Poses Along With A Friend! Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River. Leap Day, February 29, 2016.manatee,friend,curiosity,peaceful,©CGrant

It wasn’t just this adorable gal manatee who came out of the manatee-only resting area to see what we were all about…, there were many manatees in clear, blue water on this lucky Leap Day. Here’s a sampling: Continue reading

January Manatees Times Seven

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Hello! I’ve been busy observing manatees this unique January 2016! I say unique because it’s sometimes been sunny and mild, other times very cold and extremely windy. That is a peak time for manatees to seek refuge! After a very warm December, January has turned out to be rather cold and the weather quite volatile. Despite any obstacles I have been in the water to chronicle the lives of our beloved sirenians – as I do every January, although this January it is harder to encounter decent underwater photographic conditions. In these seven examples I have succeeded in different aspects of photographing what I’m interested in and trying new things. There is a “Challenge on Nature Photography” going on right now across Facebook. Usually folks nominate a new person each day. I was nominated, so instead of posting new images for seven days on Facebook, I’m putting seven here and linking to #challengeonnaturephotography.

Without further ado – here’s seven examples of what me and the manatees have been up to this month:

#1 – Mother and Calf Display Affection and Bask In Sun Rays. Wed. January 20th.Manatee_mom_calf_20Jan-2609

Due to cold weather and large numbers of manatees, Three Sisters Springs has been closed sometimes, but open others. Continue reading

Manatee Babysitter

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Thanksgiving brings everyone together, so inevitably sometimes there appears the odd “unwelcome guest”, also known as “The Guest Who Would Never Leave”. This happens in manateeland too, and here is their day-before-Thanksgiving story.

If you have gone to see manatees you know it’s been difficult to observe them lately because it’s so unseasonably warm. That’s good for manatees though, warmth assures they have extra opportunities to feed, take care of their calves and socialize before the winter cool down when they gather at the springs.

Theo and I went on Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving. I knew it would be a 50/50 chance of seeing manatees in the clearer springs at Crystal  River. But we gave it a go and hoped for good luck!

male manatee, mom and calf, springs Surprise! Early arrivals! An eager male manatee chases an algae-covered mom and calf at Three Sisters Springs.

Manatees arrived earlier than I predicted, but fortunately I know this can occur so we were ready. And little did I know we would witness a bit of manatee drama.  Continue reading

Manatees Solve Deflategate

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Sirenians hold many secrets and have for hundreds of years. In the wake of the New England Patriots “Deflate-gate” scandal, I went undercover–and underwater–to see what manatees knew about the mysterious deflated footballs.

Manatees are experts on buoyancy, bubbles and breathing. They don’t even think about PSI when inflating and deflating themselves, it all comes naturally! Manatees know a lot more than us about what constitutes a hard and a soft football. Here is a photographic lead documented on January 20, 2015.

“Uh…, it wasn’t me” says this manatee back in Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River Florida. I found out more on further investigative questioning…, you’ll see in the video evidence below…

Florida, manatees,deflategate,underwater

Following that lead from Tuesday, January 20th, Continue reading

Everyone Is Talking Manatee

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New manatee arrivals, new spring closures to protect the species and new rules intended to help control crowds has everyone talking, including this pair of manatees in deep conversation.

Two Manatees Seem To Be Discussing All The Changes Proposed At Three Sisters Springs. From December 9, 2014, Three Sisters Springs.

Two manatees, talking, whiskers, snouts

I promised photographs of recent manatee arrivals and here are several from December and one from November 2014. Continue reading

Polite and Sexy Manatee Buzz

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People.com recently posted “The Sexiest Manatees Alive”. You couple that with some great new manatee viewing data, along with my photographs on the VisitCitrus.com site, and a post is in order! I know I said my next post would be about recently arrived manatees, but while I consult with researchers about an unusual behavior I witnessed, here’s some fun manatee buzz!

People.com “Sexiest Manatees Alive!” iPhone Screenshot. Photo by Carol Grant

My manatee photo, sexy manatee, People.com, Carol Grant

Honestly, let’s give “Little Boy Blue Manatee” a break here. He was a documented orphan I photographed nursing off at least two different females in 2010! Due to his rotund appearance it was concluded he was adopted and doing great. He’s a boy…, he didn’t stick it out…, he just has a lot down there… and he’s proud of it! Who knew People.com would notice for their “sexy manatee” post? Here’s the actual photograph:

Little Boy Blue Manatee Floats Over A Warm Spring in January 2010

Manatees,Three Sisters Springs, Florida

Visit Citrus has also put together an updated website showcasing how to politely observe manatees. Many of my photographs are used.  Continue reading

Manatee Sleeps With The Fishes

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Movies often evoke dramatic thoughts and pictures, even years later. Such is the case when I saw the movie “The Godfather”. In a suspenseful moment, after Sal Tessio retrieved a package including a fish, Clemenza says , “It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.” I must admit I got chills when I first saw it and I never forgot that scene. But now something’s changed and I can’t quite conjure up the drama connected with that scene. Why, you ask? I think this photograph will explain why…

Manatee Sleeps With The Fishes — January 10, 2014Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. An adult manatee rests on its back in the warm freshwater. Fish, bream, Lepomis spp. surround the resting male manatee. Verticle orientation with sun rays. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

Manatees “sleep with fishes” and they do seem to enjoy it so!

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Something’s Fishy In The Springs

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Manatees gather together in the wintertime at various warm water sites around Florida. Some of these manatees frequent natural freshwater springs. Fish also enjoy congregating near the outflows of spring water. It is here that manatees and a number of fish species share the same watery real estate until the weather warms and manatees spread out again. While together in the springs fish often surround manatees as illustrated in this photograph:

Fish Gather Around A Manatee In The SpringsFlorida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. A manatee floats near a warm blue spring and submerged tree roots surrounded by fish, bream, Lepomis spp. and a mangrove snapper, Lutjanus griseus. The manatee is tolerating the bream fish attention as it is the price to pay for sharing the warm waters. Bream target dermis and dead skin on the manatee. Vertical orientation with blue water and light rays. Undisturbed, natural behavior. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

Interaction between fish and manatees is an interesting behavior to observe. In fact some fish, particularly bream also known as sunfish (Lepomis spp.) and sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) are known to continually surround and peck at the manatee’s skin especially while they are resting. Note the bream below are nipping this manatee:

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Top 10 Cute Manatee Kids!

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Manatees are curious, gentle, charismatic, and appealing marine mammals, and manatee kids are ten-times so! Whether it’s investigating everything around and about, learning the art of flipper-turning, demonstrating new buoyancy and swimming skills, fine-tuning snout rubbing, meeting other manatees, exploring or just being the subject of its mother’s pride, manatee kid’s antics are just plan cute!

Here are my Top 10 Cute Manatee Kids (all linked from my new Oceangrant.com website that includes many additional photographs of manatee calf cuteness):

#10 – Mother Manatee with Calf Behind – How cute is this? Not only are this mother manatee and her male calf floating peacefully with beautiful reflections in the calm waters, but junior has his snout touching mom’s behind. Awwwww!Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. A calf nudges its mother while both float in warm blue spring water. A peaceful and tranquil touching scene with reflections. Horizontal orientation with beautiful light rays. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

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