At first it looks like an amateur sex tape – not that high-quality National Geographic porn. The huge 1,500-pound creatures flop around as beach goers watch, and are shockingly fleet-flippered when chasing down one particular manatee. A kid yells, “they’re mating!” while a man observes it as more of a “gang bang.”
But instead of indulging in some very public Spring Break merrymaking, it seems the group was composed of a mom manatee and her calves. Instead of sexy time, the video, shot by beachgoer Craig Hossack, captured cuddly, adorable feeding time. It’s not entirely clear how many adults and calves were present, though; manatees have only one calf at a time, with gestation periods lasting about 13 months and calves moving on in about two years. This makes it highly unlikely they were all babies.
Either way, it’s heartwarming and satisfying to see a large group of manatees in such a special setting, whether sexy time or feeding time, and should serve as a friendly reminder that these endangered animals need our help. Not only are they slow to reproduce, but manatees tend to inhabit canals which leave them open to injury by boats and related human activities. Coastal development isn’t helping either.