Holy (sea)cow! Florida is home to some incredible sea life, and Destin is no exception. Manatees roam the warm Gulf waters, and it is always a delight to see these real-life gentle giants in their natural habitat. We want to share a couple of great videos that show thrilling footage of these incredible creatures.
But first, a few facts about these remarkable animals.
Manatees are docile marine animals that inhabit warm, shallow, and slow-moving bodies of water, such as bays, canals, estuaries, and coastal areas. There are three types of manatees: West Indian, African, and Amazonian. The ones found in Florida are West Indian manatees. Cold waters can cause stress in manatees, which is why the Gulf Coast water is perfect for them. Manatees are a keystone species, providing healthy homes in the seagrass for other marine animals. They are large in stature, measuring an average of 10-feet long and weighing up to 1200 lbs. Often called sea cows, manatees eat 10% of their body weight in seagrass—every single day! That would be like a man-eating about 16 pounds of food a day. How crazy is that?
These creatures are what we should all aspire to be—relaxed! Their days mostly consist of eating, resting, and traveling. What a life! In keeping with their calm natures, manatees typically move slowly, but they can put on bursts of speed if the need arises. While they spend much of their time submerged underwater, they are mammals, and therefore need air to breathe. On average, they resurface between three and five minutes.
Recently removed from the "Endangered Species" list, manatees are still classified as a "Vulnerable Species," meaning their population is decreasing. As such, it is very important to be educated on how to respect, support, and conserve manatee populations. Manatees are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. West Indian Manatees are also protected by the 1978 Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act, making it illegal to touch a manatee. West Indian manatees do not have any natural predators. Cold stress and disease are common natural causes of death, and habitat loss is the most immediate threat to manatee populations. However, a high number of fatalities are attributed to watercraft collisions and other human-related causes. This means it is necessary to be cautious when driving boats in areas where manatees are located. Do not get too close—it is not worth risking a manatee's life just for the photo-op!
Related artcile: Whale Sharks in Destin
But don't worry, there are safe ways to interact with manatees, some of which include guided manatee tours in Florida and spotting them at a safe distance in the wild. And, of course, you can always watch videos of these cool animals.
Check out these five videos of manatees in Destin. Whether you're a manatee expert or novice, you're in for a real treat.
Manatee Spotted Swimming with Beachgoers in Florida
This video by Birds-iView Aerial Photography catches birds-eye-view footage of a lone manatee swimming with beachgoers in Miramar Beach. Awestruck onlookers maintain their distance, watching the majestic manatee as it swims idly by, doing what manatees do best—relaxing in the warm water.
Manatee Swims Close to Destin Florida Shore
As he was on his way to shore after paddleboarding, YouTube user mxrider418 caught sight of a manatee and recorded it with his GoPro. The video has both above and underwater shots, capturing the smooth way the manatee cuts through the waves, despite the creature's size. What a great experience!
Helicopter Tour of Destin Beach, Florida - Manatees & Dolphins!
This helicopter tour video not only shows sweet views of Destin - but it also catches sight of a group of manatees. The Gulf's crystal-clear water makes it easy to see the four manatees in a v-formation as they swim along their merry way. If you keep watching, you'll also get to see some dolphins!
Manatees in Destin Florida
In this video by Dylan Sims, some social manatees join a group of paddleboarders for a swim. They look right at home, swimming smoothly beside these paddlers. Needless to say, those paddleboarders sure had something to tell their friends about that day!
Manatee Spotted Near Destin, FL East Jetties
Chill music and incredible camera angles capture an inspiring video of a manatee and her calf located near the East Jetties in Destin. The manatees joined divers, snorkelers, and other onlookers in a swim that they won't soon forget. The curious animals swam right up to the camera, floating gracefully and allowing us spectators to see them up close. Be sure to watch to the end of the video, when the manatee snuggles right up to the cameraman!
Spotted: Aggregation of manatees on Emerald Coast
Because five thrilling videos isn't enough, and since an aggregation of manatees just passed through Destin this week... we've expanded our list to include a 6th video! Saving the best for last? We think so. Check out this evening news report from a CBS affiliate out of Mobile, AL.
If seeing a manatee is on your bucket list, you might just get to see one when you vacation in Destin. Reserve your stay with us, where you can enjoy an awesome Destin beach house, make fun memories, and maybe even see a manatee!