Snooty the manatee turns 65 on Sunday, and the South Florida Museum is celebrating with a birthday party fit for such a distinguished member of the aquarium. Snooty is the oldest manatee in captivity and has been the aquarium’s most popular attraction for decades.
Snooty was born on July 21, 1948. He measures 9 feet, 8 inches long and weighs in at 1,080 pounds. Snooty first moved to Bradenton, Fla. in 1949 and was moved to the Parker Manatee Aquarium in 1993. The museum said the manatee has greeted more than a million visitors.
South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium can house three manatees at any given time and offers an environment designed to mimic the animal’s natural habitat. In addition to being the oldest manatee in captivity, Snooty may be one of the oldest manatees anywhere, the Associated Press reports.
Snooty’s life at the aquarium is one of constant pampering and attention. AP notes the manatee eats 80 pounds of lettuce daily, gets routine health checkups and gets constant attention from handlers and visitors. “If you lived in a pool where people gave you a bath and fed you lettuce by hand and you had no other predators and the water was always a nice warm temperature, you'd be living long too,” Brynne Anne Besio, executive director of the South Florida Museum, said.
Snooty shares the habitat with two other manatees, Cheeno and Longo, that are currently being treated for cold stress, notes AP, and the oldest manatee in captivity seems to be enjoying his almost seventh decade of existence. Snooty has proven invaluable to the scientific understanding of manatees. Researchers have been able to learn a lot about the species, including how well they hear, vocalization patterns, nutrition and physiology.
The oldest manatee in the wild was 53-years old, based on research of manatee carcasses, but only a few get to live to that age, AP notes. Most manatees, due to environmental stress or threats related to mankind, only live to the age of 13.
Snooty’s birthday party will be held on July 20 at the South Florida Museum. For those not in the area, the museum has provided a live stream of the party, beginning at 10 a.m. EDT, which can be viewed here.
Charles Poladian joined IBTimes in October 2012 and, when not reporting on all things topical, can be found reading or photographing concerts.