I spent my senior year of college in Orlando, and when I wanted to unwind, I had my favorite place to go. Sea Base in EPCOT. Of course, I always thought of it as “The Seas”. I would take a book and sit on one of the ledges by the tanks, looking up now-and-then to watch the fish swim by.
One of my favorite animals in Sea Base is the manatee or “sea cow”. Manatee seem to just lazily float along without a care in the world. According to the National Geographic website, manatee normally float along at about 5 miles per hour, but they can also swim up to 15 miles per hour for short bursts.
Manatee are technically “marine mammals”, so they have to breathe air. Did you know that a resting manatee can remain under water for up to 15 minutes? If they are swimming, they have to come up for air every 3 or 4 minutes. Because of their ability to stay under water or just under the surface of the water, manatee are not easily seen and end up getting hurt in the waterways. Do you see the back fin of the manatee above? Let me show you a closer shot.
He was hurt. Actually, both of the manatee that are in Sea Base are there because they were injured.
Both of the manatee were injured in a boat strike and were rescued. It’s a win-win situation for Walt Disney World to aid in the rehabilitation of the manatee while providing the opportunity for many people to see them.
I enjoy watching the manatee being fed. The cast member throws heads of lettuce into the water, and the manatees gracefully glide over to the lettuce and pull it toward their mouths with their flipper. Can you see that manatee holding the lettuce to his mouth, so he can eat?
I asked the cast member how long the manatees had been there. Honestly, I don’t remember the exact length of time she said, but it was something like 5-7 years. What amazed me was that she said that there was still hope that the manatee would be released after all that time.
Have you seen the manatee at Sea Base before?