Mating manatees strand themselves on Florida beach, officials say

Two mating manatees briefly stranded themselves on a Florida beach on Tuesday, officials said.

The love-making manatees – presumed to be an adult male and female – were reported around 7 a.m. north of Beach Street in Ponce Inlet, a coastal town in Volusia County, a county spokesperson told FOX 35. 

They were exhibiting normal behavior and that it appears a male followed a female manatee, officials said. Both have since swam away.

"Occasionally, females intentionally strand themselves to escape a mating herd, and return to the water as the tide rises," the spokesperson said.

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Photo credit: Volusia County

Manatees, sometimes referred to as "sea cows," are located throughout Florida in both saltwater and freshwater waterways. Manatees are a protected species, and it is illegal to "feed, harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, annoy, or molest manatees," according to the FWC's website.

If you see an injured, distressed, or sick manatee, you can contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline, 888-404-FWCC (3922).