Manatee Has Spent 67 Years In A Tank — And Never Seen The Ocean
Snooty came into this world with a title: first recorded manatee to be born in captivity. He began his life 67 years ago, in 1948, at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company. One year later, "Baby Snoots" moved to his current home in Bradenton, Florida, at the Parker Manatee Aquarium in the South Florida Museum.
He will celebrate his birthday later this month on July 21, and some people claim that he is the world's oldest manatee.
This title may be a bit too generous. The Guinness Book of World Records added two words to the title: world's oldest manatee in captivity.
Snooty is a Florida Manatee, a subspecies of the West Indian Manatee. Though estimates of a wild manatee's lifespan range from 40 to 60 years, Snooty will soon reach an astounding 67 years in captivity.
The director of living conditions at the South Florida Museum, Marilyn Margold, attributes Snooty's long life to his captive status. Manatees in the wild typically die from "stressful water temperatures, red tide, boat strikes and fishing gear entanglements," she told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "Without those four things, they aren't really susceptible to disease or illness."
Though Snooty will most likely never know what it feels like to swim in the ocean, he makes acquaintances with visiting manatees who pass through the South Florida Museum's rehabilitation program before they are released back into the wild.
The manatee who was born during the year that ABC became a television network and the New York subway fare doubled from 5 to 10 cents, is still alive and swimming, and this month he will celebrate his 67th birthday - in his tank.