If you have ever been to Central Florida and had the special experience of witnessing a manatee in it’s natural environment, then count yourself as blessed! The Florida Manatee, or more widely known as the West Indie Manatee is an indigenous mammal known the call all water in Florida homes for the past millennia. The Manatees that call Florida waterways it’s home is one of three species of manatee in the world. The West Indie Manatee, the Amazonian Manatee and the West African Manatee. None of the three to be confused with the Dugong, which is similar to the manatee and a part of the sirenia species but not technically a manatee.
Growing up on Florida’s Space Coast, here in Merritt Island, I have seen and swam around manatee all of my life. Three friends of mine lived in a canal home on Merritt Island off of Sykes Creek in Merritt Island, and I can recall getting in the little row boat and paddling around with the manatee every time we knew they were behind their house.
Now, I try to get out and kayak the Indian or Banana Rivers and the Thousand Islands of Cocoa Beach at least once a week to stay connected with all of the amazing nature we live with here in Central Florida.
Living on a canal here on Merritt Island, my family and I (two dogs included, because they know when our manatee friends are in their back yard) have the privilege of sharing our back yard with this glorious and gentle giants. The more manatee that there are in our waterways on both the East coast of Florida in the Indian River Lagoon, the hundreds of fresh water springs spread though out the state or the many ivers and springs on our west coast.