Manatees in the Everglades 

native speciesDid you know adult manatees can eat up to 10 to 15% of their body weight daily? That’s a lot of food! To get in that much food, manatees graze for about seven hours per day.  

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, manatees are a “keystone species” Manatees behaviors can alert researcher to environmental changes and they are monitored by tags.  

The manatee season in the Everglades just ended.  The season begins November 15 and goes until March 31.  

In 2017 the government had to make a decision on whether or not manatees will still have an endangered species status. Over the years, manatees’ numbers have grown, which is why this change of status may occur.  Right now, the manatee is not endangered. In early 2019, a survey estimated at least 5,700 living in Florida waters, which is a jump from the 1,267 manatees counted in 1991, when the first aerial surveys were taken. 

In the last 29 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local governments have helped create more than 50 manatee protection zones, boating rules, and restricted construction of docks in certain habitats. 

Around 95 manatees were killed in 2016 by boats and other watercrafts. With such a high number of manatees being that year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urges boaters to be extra careful. 

In 2017, there was a proposal to change the manatees from endangered to threatened species. Many scientists are opposed to this change, because it would remove federal protection from manatees in the Caribbean, whose numbers aren’t as high as the ones living in Florida.  However, their status did change in 2017 and was downgraded to “threatened.” 

During manatee season, slower speed limits go in effect for boaters. Boaters are asked to wear polarized sunglasses to better spot manatees and abide by the speed limits put in place. 

Here are some other fun facts about manatees: 

  • Manatees sleep on the bottom and float up about every 20 minutes to breath.  
  • Manatees can weigh between 1,500 and 1,800 pounds.  
  • Manatees can live up to 60 years old in the wild.  
  • Manatees live and thrive in warm water above 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  • Manatees can easily float due to their fat helping with buoyancy and their large lungs filling with air.  
  • Manatees squeal under water to communicate.  


Spot Some Manatees on an Everglades Airboat Tour 

Although not guaranteed, you may get the chance to see a manatee on an airboat tour through the Everglades. 

 If not, don’t worry there are so many other animals, birds, plants, and marine life you can spot on a ride 

Book an Everglades airboat tour today with Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours.  

Call 800-368-0065  or visit our Everglades Airboat Tours  page to book a trip!  

Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours are open seven days a week 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If paying by cash, adults cost $40 (plus tax) and children 12 and under cost $20 (plus tax. If paying by credit card, adults cost $45 (plus tax) and children cost $25 (plus tax).