NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - There were at least five manatees huddled very close to shore that appeared to be beaching themselves, but Florida Fish and Wildlife says it's normal behavior. That's a mating herd, and it's mating season.
These mating herds are common in Florida waters this time of year, and this particular herd was caught on video by a central Florida woman, Barbara Mudge.
The video shows the herd in the shallow waters at the jetties in Smyrna Dunes Park in New Smyrna Beach. Typically, there will be several bulls (males) pursuing a cow (female) until she is ready to mate.
Fish and Wildlife officers say if you encounter a herd, it's important to watch from a distance. "These large, strong animals are focused on mating and bystanders that get too close could be seriously injured," biologists said.
FWC officers also urge people to look out for the mating herds while enjoying the water and ask that boaters slow down to help prevent boat strikes.