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People around the world are mourning the death of a Tampa Bay icon. Snooty, the oldest manatee on earth, passed away in a tragic accident over the weekend. He provided joy to more than a million people over the course of 69 years and he lived a full life.
Snooty the manatee rightly earned his Guinness World Record as the world’s oldest manatee because we know where it all began — on July 21st, 1948, ‘Baby Snoots’ was born at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company. It was the first recorded birth of a Manatee in captivity.
But when he was 11 months old, he was brought to Bradenton as part of the 1949 Desoto Celebration and moved permanently to the South Florida museum. As he grew, ‘Baby Snoots’ eventually became ‘Snooty’ and in 1979 he was crowned the official mascot of Manatee County.
As his fame spread, more and more people came to see him at his home in a small pool. Over the years, his home got some upgrades, culminating in a spacious 60,000 gallon pool in 1993.
Over Snooty’s 69 years, scientists made new discoveries about manatees’ intelligence and longevity.
“Manatees are really resilient animals, they just don’t have a lot of disease problems,” said South Florida Museum Dr. Dave Murphy in 2013.
Snooty had to spend his entire life in captivity. He was so used to being fed, experts said he couldn’t last out in the wild.
Not that he minded. He entertained several generations of students and families.
Back in 2014, a hoax spread through social media, claiming he died, shocking the community.
“It’ll be a real sad day if he ever passes away,” said one Snooty fan in 2014.
Sadly, that inevitable day finally came, and this community will never be the same.