Having reached the ripe old age of 66, Snooty the manatee (otherwise known as a sea cow) is the oldest Manatee in captivity and is also likely to be the oldest manatee in the world.
Born in an aquarium on July 21, 1948 and arriving at the South Florida Museum in 1949, Snooty has been a resident ever since.
The gentle giant is also a popular member of the community and has been so for some time, so much so that he was declared Manatee County’s official mascot in 1979.
As Executive Director of the museum Brynne Anne Besio explains “Snooty is a one-of-a-kind animal, not only does he make history every day as the oldest-known manatee in the world, he also provides valuable insight into the health and life cycle of all manatees”.
Very few manatee live past 30 in the wild, although most don’t make it past 10 years of age due to natural and man made dangers including cold waters, hunting and boat strikes. Often manatees are found injured from boat propellers due to insufficient protections.
Consequently, manatees have been enlisted as an endangered species and are the subject of great conservation efforts.
Research performed with Snooty provides an invaluable source of understanding of manatees “Researchers are able to work with Snooty in a hands-on manner that is not permissible for the wild, endangered manatee population.” Brynne Anne Besio.
So obviously no ordinary birthday would be fit for this one-of-a-kind manatee and this year was yet another spectacular birthday bash filled with food, activities and entertainment, and of course the birthday boy was sung happy birthday and treated to a cake made out of vegetables.
Judging by all of the attention Snooty’s birthday has attracted, it’s not just Snooty who will be looking forward to his 67th birthday celebrations.