Photographer Tracy Stanfield spotted this darling baby manatee (called a calf) with its mother while visiting her friend’s dock in Goodland.
Female manatees give birth every two to five years. Pregnancy for a mother manatee lasts approximately one year.At birth, the calf will be approximately 47 inches long and weigh an impressive 66 pounds. The young calf will stay with its mother for one to two years while it matures. They nurse underwater. The calf will eventually grow in size to 10- 12 feet and 1,500-1,800 pounds when it reaches adulthood.
Although more newborn calves seem to be born in the spring and summer months, they can be seen in Southwest Florida during any timeof the year. If you see a manatee when swimming or boating, please look, but don’t touch! Be sure to always follow the posted speed limits when boating in Manatee Protection Zones.
For more information about manatee protection, visit myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/ managed/manatee/protection-zones.