Rare twin baby manatees were spotted in the Homosassa Springs of Florida, and these little calves are quickly becoming beloved local celebs.
Manatees, often referred to as “sea cows,” known for their docile nature, are born underwater, according to National Geographic. Each calf must be brought up for a first breath of air to the water’s surface by the mother. After just an hour of life, the babies can typically swim on their own.
These rare mammals are on the federal endangered species list. Though a law now exists that prevents them from being hunted, fewer than 6,000 remain in the wild. Even rarer still are twin baby manatees, as only 2 percent of manatee births result in twins per Citrus County, Florida Tourism Bureau officials.
“In the past 10 years, maybe I’ve spotted a dozen sets of twins but never once have I seen them in the springs nor have I seen a mother and her calves quite so visible in Homosassa waters,” says Ivan Vicente of the Fish and Wildlife Service per My Fox Tampa Bay. “That’s because nursing mothers usually isolate themselves in low-trafficked areas to keep the calves protected from mainly people, only this time they aren’t as isolated.”
Gene Parker is a captain with Snorkel With Manatees per The Dodo, a social medial site for animal lovers. Gene posted the following video to Facebook, noting that “even after nearly 15 years in his career, this is the first time [Parker has] run across a mother calf with twins.”
The twins have as yet not been named, but the mother is known as CR707 per the Huffington Post. Records indicate that the first documented sighting of her was in 2008, and she “hasn’t been seen with calves since 2011.”
Parker told HuffPost that he still “can’t quite believe” he was able to see the rare little family trio on such an up-close and personal level. He felt CR707 was a “mother trusting us with her motherhood” by bringing her twin calves in such close proximity to his watercraft.
Parker admitted that he himself hasn’t seen the babies since the day after he took the video, but visitors are welcomed by Citrus County Tourism Bureau to come out for a rare opportunity to spot a set of manatee twins.
However, excited tourists should plan to arrive within the next few weeks. The mother will likely take the family out into the Gulf of Mexico by that time.
The twins going without names is a good thing, as manatees are typically only given a name designation if they are injured in some way and obtain a scar that can be used for identification.
Though manatees have an average lifespan of 80 years in the wild. Snooty the Manatee just celebrated his 65th birthday in his aquarium at the South Florida Museum, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.
Far too many of these docile creatures do not enjoy a long and healthy lifespan.
Manatees are often the victims of accidental encounters with humans, as many are hit by motorboats or caught in fishing nets.
If you can’t make it down to Florida for a hopeful glimpse of the twins, the best way to help is to spread awareness of the dangers manatees face.
One thing is for certain, CR707 and her rare twins will be the most popular manatee family on the planet for weeks to come.
[Photo via the Citrus County Florida Facebook page]