Can you guess how manatees communicate? Maybe they bark like a seal, whistle like a dolphin, or sing like a bird. And are they quiet or noisy animals? Thanks to researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey's Sirenia Project, you can discover the answers to these questions and more. These sounds were recorded at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida, home to one of our three Adopt-A-Manatee programs.
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Common Manatee Sounds Manatees communicate by using calls that have been described as squeaks, chirps, or grunts. The way the call sounds depends on the situation and the reason the manatee is communicating.
An Angry or Annoyed Manatee It's true! Manatees get mad, too. Listen and see if you can tell how a manatee's call changes when he or she is angry or annoyed.
Frightened Manatees Have you ever screamed when you were startled or scared? Well, manatees do the same thing. In this segment, a group of manatees are frightened by a boater.
Calls Between a Mother and Calf Usually, manatees are quiet animals. But moms and calves provide location information by calling back and forth. Listen to the difference in pitch between the two animals.
Nursing Calf Just like you nag your mom for snacks, manatee calves make squeaking sounds until they are allowed to nurse from the nipples located behind their motherís flippers.
Calf Searches for Mom "Quit playing and get over here!" That's what a manatee mom might mean when she calls to her calf. She may want to leave an area or she senses danger. When calves can't find their moms, they will cry loudly until she answers. After locating their mother, they swim to her side. When Lucille, one of the manatees in our Adopt-A-Manatee program, was less than one year old, her cries were recorded when she became separated from her mom.
Mechanical Sounds What? Are manatees mechanics? No, these are sounds that help manatees know another manatee is present. Listen to a manatee rising to breathe, the swirling of water during a sudden movement, a manatee feeding on aquatic plants, and -- yes, it's true -- the sound of flatulence produced during digestion. Hmm, manatees and humans are very similar in some respects!