Snooty the Manatee - World's Oldest Captive Manatee


Snooty The Manatee
South Florida Museum

Snooty was the world's oldest manatee in captivity

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Snooty The Manatee

Snooty was an internationally-famous manatee raised in captivity longer than any other manatee in the world. Regrettably, Snooty died in 2017 just days after his 69th birthday due to equipment malfunction.

Much beloved, Snooty was Manatee County's mascot and a standard part of the local classroom curriculum for grades 1 through 3. Over a million visitors saw Snooty.  

Snooty lived in the 60,000-gallon Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium in Bradenton just north of Sarasota.

Snooty may be gone but three other adult manatees are in residence. The aquarium serves as a second stage rehabilitation facility, a temporary home for manatees that will be released back into the wild once they are healthy. .

Snooty may be gone but his story is worth telling since it illustrates how much better captive manatees are treated today. Snooty was born in 1948 in Miami. His life has been anything but normal.

His mother was injured by a boat shortly before Snooty's birth, so he had to be taken by caesarian from his mother, who died six hours after the 60-pound calf was born. 

Snooty began life inside a tank. Back in the 1940s, that was a dangerous place for any baby manatee to be.

Until this time, every manatee ever born in captivity had died before reaching maturity. 

In 1949, Snooty (called Baby Snoots) was moved to the town of Bradenton and the South Florida Museum. For the next 17 years his existence was hardly a happy one, living alone in a small cramped tank. 

His living quarters improved slightly in 1966 when the museum expanded and Snooty received a larger 12 by 20-foot pool. 

In the fall of 1993, Snooty finally moved into much more expansive quarters, a 60,000 gallon, 40 x 25-foot pool with both deep and shallow ends. 

The pool was part of the new Manatee Education and Research Facility, which features above and below water viewing. Also on display are exhibits on manatee habitat, physiology and anatomy. 

Perhaps the greatest change for Snooty was that, to meet federal standards, he had the company of another manatee for the first time in his life. 

Ironically, people had often joked that Snooty might not know he was a manatee. For virtually all of his life, his only companions were humans.

Information on visiting the museum and aquarium here.  

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