Humans seem to have a natural attraction to manatees and dolphins and if the behavior of these mammals is any indication, they also seem to be attracted to humans. The manatee and dolphin are not fish, but mammals which bear live young and breathe air. Manatee and dolphin watching charter trips are a great way to see two of the animals Southwest Florida is known for. A private charter gives you a chance to watch and interact with the dolphins and manatees from a safe distance.
The manatee is protected by Federal law and is somewhat more elusive than the dolphin. Although with this protection their numbers are increasing, manatees still remain an endangered species. Manatees are migratory animals and have been known to migrate as far as North Carolina and Louisiana, though most stay near the Florida West coast. They tend to stay in the warm Florida waters during the winter which and migrate further north during the summer. The best manatee watching is near the Southwest Florida coastline near Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Capitiva Islands, and Pine Island Sound.
Manatees are herbivores and feed on the grasses and plants of the Gulf waters. Manatees can grow to be several feet long and have smooth gray skin. They have no visible ears, but are thought to have excellent hearing. Manatees make a squealing noise to communicate, or to show fear or excitement. They breathe through their noses and their lungs take up two thirds of their bodies. Their calves can be up to 70 pounds and the mother manatees nurse underwater. Manatees are gentle creatures and can be seen rolling and playing when not resting or feeding.
The dolphin is one of the better known sea mammals residing in the Gulf waters. Florida’s Bottleneck dolphins are playful, intelligent, and seem to enjoy sharing the waters with humans. Adult dolphins can reach up to eight feet and weigh between 450 and 600 pounds. Females travel in groups of three or more, while males are usually found singly or in pairs. A group of dolphins is called a pod. Although the males and females may travel apart, they still come together to help raise the young and to mate. Baby dolphins are born alive and nursed by their mothers for up to two years. Calving season peaks in May, and the baby dolphins remain with the mothers for three to eight years.
Dolphins are carnivores and eat up to 30 pounds of seafood per day. The communicate with high pitched squeals from their blowholes. It is from their blowholes they breathe. A dolphin can create a sound so high that it can stun fish. Dolphins have keen eyesight and can distinguish between friend or foe easily. They hunt using natural sonar to locate their food.
Chartered Manatee and Dolphin Tours
The best way to observe manatees and dolphins is to charter a private tour. This gives sightseers a chance to see the animals in their natural habitats. Both manatees and dolphins are fascinating animals and can be seen playing and feeding off of the coast of Florida. Southwest Florida offers a unique venue to observe and interact with these aquatic mammals safely. A chartered tour offers a knowledgeable captain, private boat, and a chance to enjoy Southwest Florida’s natural attractions and wildlife.