Archive for April 12th, 2009

April 12, 2009

We All Know What Spring Means

Babies! I’m excited to yet again see the adorable furry faces of lanugo-coated seal pups arriving almost daily. No, they’re not in the lagoon or the Atlantic coastline of Florida, but they are still popping up (popping out, perhaps?) here in the state between all the various marine parks, zoos, and aquariums.

Last week – during my lull in communications – I was lucky to sight nursery pods of Atlantic bottlenose dolphin in the Indian River Lagoon system and noted several smaller dorsal fins. Another lagoon animal is giving birth right now – the manatees. Spring often marks out the rush of calving for sea cows in Florida and, unfortunately, not all of them are getting the best start in life. FWCC did a rescue for a very tiny calf just last week in fact (the same one pictured in the pool above). The Stranding team reported her weight at 50 pounds and her length at 3 feet. That’s pretty much the very low-end of the scale for newborn weight and length dimensions of a manatee calf so odds are this one didnt stick around with mom long at all.

Manatees do, on rare ocassions, give birth to twin calves which are typically both undersized. Unfortunately because of the low-energy diet of manatees they are hard pressed to care for a single calf, nevermind a double dose of tots. If females give birth to twins usually only one calf is reared and the other is abandoned.