It's that special time of year when manatees make more manatees, and the Florida Wildlife Commission issued a plea today for us to just let them get on with it.
There can be up to 25 manatees – "with a single focal female," yikes – in one of these mating herds, according to the FWC, and the cuddle puddle can last as long as 12 or even 13 hours. FWC research biologist Kane Rigney compares it to a "bait ball," which, OK, way to take the romance out of it, Kane.
Here's the official word:
We'd like to remind beachgoers, boaters and the general public to keep your distance if you see a manatee mating herd in Florida waters. It's very common to see mating herds in shallow nearshore waters during the spring and summer months, and if you encounter a herd it's important to observe from a safe distance as these large, strong animals are focused on mating. Bystanders that get too close could be seriously injured. In most cases the manatees are not stranded, injured or distressed, and the public should not try to approach or assist the animals in any way. Kane Rigney, a manatee biologist at our Path Lab, talked with us last year about mating herds and what the public should do if they see one. If a manatee appears to be injured, stranded or dead, please call Wildlife Alert at 888-404-3922.
If you're doin' it so hard you could injure bystanders, you win at life. Get on with your bad selves, water potatoes.
Here's a manatee-orgy video from FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute: