Baby Boom

It's an exciting time here in Crystal River as the spring brings us sunshine and warmth, but also newborn manatees! So far this season we have had at least 3 babies born in the Bay, all healthy with doting mothers. One baby we are calling 'Tater-tot', the second baby we call 'Lil 'Stache' (as he has white marks that look like half a mustache) and the newest calf... is SO new we haven't named her yet! During the first few weeks of life it is essential that these mom calf pairs bond, so we keep our distance. After a few weeks of bonding we will see the babies getting braver and more curious by the day....coming closer and closer to check out their surroundings. Mothers carry the calves for around 14 months, and then stay with the baby teaching them important behaviors like finding food sources and migratory patterns for nearly 3 years. When born, calves are nearly 4 feet long and weigh around 70 to 80 pounds. They double in size the first month or so, and then grow quickly from there! Many mothers will remain in our protected Refuge for the first two years of life and this helps to make our summers special. There may not be hundreds of manatees in the area during summer, but just one encounter with a beautiful baby is something you will NEVER forget! Join us and let us show you why we love these unique, gentle beasts so much!