Everyone is anxiously scanning the waters near Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park for the first glimpse of our returning West Indian manatees. They usually make their yearly appearance as the water in other areas begins to cool. They should not be confused with the Florida manatee that lives in the Everglades year-round.
Many people think that the West Indian manatee has a face that only a mother can love. Their puppy-dog eyes and their slow movements cause many to fall in love with them instantly. They usually move their flippers very slowly cruising through the water at speeds of three to five miles per hour. When they feel threatened, however, they can move up to 20 mph. When swimming, they often surface every 30 seconds to breathe which can be a thrilling sight to see.
Most adult West Indian manatees weigh about 1,000 pounds, and they can be up to 10 feet long. It takes a lot of plants to fill these manatees up as they feast on about 100 pounds of plant life daily. They are herbivores but have been known to eat small amounts of fish while eating the plants.
There are less than 7,000 left in the world although conservation methods are helping to increase their numbers slightly. As humans continue to destroy more of their habitat, it becomes increasingly difficult for this species to survive. One of the largest threats to manatees is their encounters with motor boats as they simply cannot get out of the way fast enough. Many manatees are also killed each year because of trash that gets into the oceans, so we urge everyone visiting the park to be extremely careful with their trash.
Most manatees do not give birth until they are at least five years old. Then, they only give birth every two years. It is not unusual to see mommas and calves swimming side by side at Delnor-Wiggins Park. Our kayaks make an excellent way to see these animals because we can gently paddle through the waters so that we do not disturb their habitat.
If you would like to see the manatees, then give us a call. We will help you arrange a guided tour through our mangrove forests where these remarkable creatures often feed. You can also rent a kayak allowing you to explore the area on your own.
Naples Beach Adventures
11135 GulfShore Drive
Naples, FL 34108
Parking Lot #4