Best of Orlando sent Lisa Corrao out to SeaWorld Orlando to learn more about the many manatee that the park rehabilitates. Lisa sat down with Pedro, Supervisor of Animal Care at SeaWorld Orlando to learn more about the sea animals and their role in the park. Here’s what we learned:
1. Manatees suffer cold stress – There are several things that manatees need rescuing from - boat injuries, fishing lines, water pollution, but one thing you don’t often hear about is cold stress. Think manatee frostbite. In Central Florida the temperature does drop rather low as does the water temperatures. Manatees are warm water species. 72 degrees is the lowest temperature they like to be in. If the water goes below 68 degrees they begin to have issues, which may result in such things as lesions and even flipper loss.
2. Manatees are related to elephants – Elephants and manatees related?! That’s right. According to Pedro, the manatee is a distant relative to the elephant. You can see it in their lips when they eat. They use their mouth very similarly to how an elephant moves its trunk while eating.
3. Manatee Rehabilitation Area – SeaWorld Orlando has opened up the Manatee Rehabilitation Area to the public. The manatees that you see in this exhibit are all manatees that have been rescued. This is where SeaWorld staff feeds and cares for the animals.
4. Manatees are herbivores – You may or may not have known that manatees are vegetarians. The Florida Manatee, which you’ll find at SeaWorld, migrates back and forth between fresh water and salt water. When they are in the fresh water environment they eat plants like hydrilla and water hyacinth. When they go out into the ocean they eat different types of seagrasses. At SeaWorld the bulk of their diet is romaine lettuce. The manatees will eat between 6-10% of their body weight so they go through quite a bit of lettuce!
5. SeaWorld Orlando Manatees are set free – The main goal for SeaWorld Orlando is always to rehabilitate and re-release manatees into the wild. Once they are healthy enough to be release, SeaWorld regularly assists with the journey.
If you would like to see the Manatees and the rehabilitation areas in SeaWorld Orlando, visit the park with discount tickets from BestofOrlando.com!