For the Oldest Living Manatee Born in Captivity
by Greg Razran
Thursday, December 26, 2002
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I found him on the table in my hotel room,
Inside one of those glossy brochures
Provided, without any ulterior motive,
To every new arrival at the Sarasota Comfort Inn.
His underwater silhouette stared at me
From among the sea of ads for local attractions:
The Siesta Village; Historic Spanish Point; Dino’s Pizza.
The caption read Visit Snooty, the oldest living manatee
Born in captivity;
There was a trademark symbol next to his name.
Everything in the photograph was blue:
The water, the seaweeds, and Snooty himself.
Only his nostrils – I think they were nostrils –
Shone with a bright, radiant whiteness.
He was the biggest big thing I’ve ever seen:
Huge eyes, huge mouth, huge body.
He looked like a giant floating elephant –
Minus the ears, the legs, and the trunk.
But it was the look on his face,
Aimed straight at me that almost floored me.
It was the saddest, most pitiful thing –
And there was something imperceptibly human-like in it,
Like that of a guy whose wife ran off with a travelling squeegee man.
You’ve got a river, a county, and a Boulevard named after you,
But you are still a captive; your world – a wet six by nine cage.
Snooty, dear Snooty, hang in there, buddy, I’m coming for you.
I’ve seen it on the Simpsons; I know I can do this, I can see it:
I’m running, carrying you out in my arms, all five tons of you;
Jonah and his whale got nothing on us.
And as I whisk you down Cortez Road, closer and closer
To the Sarasota Bay, my heart pounds loud and clear,
In unison with yours, and a bunch of old ladies in flowery dresses
Cheer us on and chant:
Oh – The- Humanatee!
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|Reviewed by Alice Luckhardt
|Wonderful poem about Snooty. The following is some additional history.
“Snooty - the Manatee”
They are known as gentle giants, the West Indian manatees and native to the Caribbean and Florida coastal shallow waters. In the summertime, they can sometimes be found along the Gulf and the Atlantic seaboard coasts. These aquatic marine mammals are also referred to as ‘sea cows’ and have been known to live up to sixty years.
The most famous manatee will be marking his 60th birthday in 2008. He is named “Snooty” and the longest living manatee born in captivity. His parents were part of the aquatic attractions of the landmark Miami Aquarium along Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida. The owner of the Miami Aquarium, Capt. Richard J. Walters, had always taken special care of his vast marine life and the manatees were always beloved by the children visiting.
Snooty’s mother was named “Lady” and she gave birth to ‘Baby Snoots’, as he was first named, on Wednesday, July 21, 1948. His birth was the first ever recorded and documented for a manatee. This new addition was the star attraction at the Miami Aquarium for months.
Over the next few months Capt. Walters was having land leasing and permit problems over his aquarium with the City of Miami. In June 1949, Baby Snoots was on loan for the De Soto Heritage Festival (also known as De Soto Celebration) on the west coast of Florida. With the announcement of the closing of the Miami Aquarium due to pressures from the city, Capt. Walters gave Baby Snoots permanently to the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, Florida.
Having been raised by humans, Snooty is always pleased to show off for an audience and has been the center of attention for the Museum. For decades he lived in a tank at the Bradenton’s Memorial Pier at Old Main Street, original home of the South Florida Museum. The Parker Manatee Aquarium in Bradenton, just south of Tampa, is a 60,000 gallon tank especially constructed in November 1993 for Snooty, his adult name. Very socialized and loving attention, even an occasion rub on the head, Snooty has been a favorite of visitors for decades. It is believed that over 1 million people have seen Snooty up close.
Today, Snooty weighs about 1,220 pounds and is 9 feet 4 inches in length. He is a vegetarian, like all manatees, consuming about 80 to 90 pounds of lettuce, carrots, cabbage, sweet potato, collards, apples and vitamin supplements each day. His favorite treat is pineapple.
He also serves as an ambassador to educate the public on protecting all manatees and other endangered species. He has been and continues to be studied for behavior and eating characteristics by scientists. His birthday every July is a huge celebration and part of the Wildlife Awareness Festival in Bradenton.
The web site for the South Florida Museum has a live web cam on Snooty in his large tank, so anyone with Internet access can view Snooty. Site address:
So this July 21, 2008, will mark Snooty’s 60th birthday and it will truly be a grand celebration.
|Reviewed by Anna M
|I liked this alot. That is one very cute manatee, it's is sad to think of him and his animal pals all caged up. You write from the heart in a unique and fresh way. Thankyou|
|Reviewed by Tracey L. O' Very (Reader)
|This is a wakening poem of how cruel it can be to cage these critters. And you running in to save him just like on the Simpson's the three ladies in flowery dresses. I can jus hear them and see them and you! This is really a nice poem
Thank You for your caring heart.
|Reviewed by Gwen Dickerson
|Ah, you've done it again, touched my heart with one of your stories. Your writing reveals to me that you have the heart of a gentle caring soul. I like your writings! Great job of pulling the reader in! Thanks!|
|Reviewed by ya mama (Reader)
|Reviewed by Nicole Davis Vergara (Reader)
|I agree with Brittany! Tis horrible what mankind does to his own planet and all its inhabitants he professes to love and honor so much!
Gods and Goddesses Bless
|Reviewed by Brittany Renée
|That is something I've dreamed of doing.