A curious and fearless manatee was caught on cellphone video swimming after an alligator at a Florida state park.
Dennis Osha, a wildlife photographer from Sarasota, filmed the two animals native to Florida as they peacefully swam in the Myakka River on July 30 at Myakka River State Park in Sarasota County.
“I just took out my camera, my phone actually, and decided to get video of a gator that was walking, or swimming, right by the bridge, and it just happened that a manatee popped up right behind it,” Osha told WTVT.
In the video, the manatee can be seen gliding through the murky water before submerging beneath the alligator, WBBH-TV reported.
“I think it was just curious,” Osha wrote, according to the Miami Herald.
The newspaper reported that while alligators and manatees share the same habitats, they rarely bother each other. Cathy Beck, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told Save The Manatee Club that biologists have seen mother manatees protecting small calves from large alligators, but otherwise they never see alligators acting aggressively toward them. Alligators have grabbed radio transmitters attached to manatees’ tails, believing that they were food, but they quickly let release them, according to the website.
According to the Florida State Parks website, the Myakka River flows through 58 miles of habitat. According to the Friends of Myakka River website, manatees can be seen along the shore of the lower river.
Osha said he mainly focuses his photography on alligators but wanted to find a manatee.
“I was really excited about it because I was finally getting my picture of my manatee, not realizing at the time, that it was coming right behind the alligator,” Osha told WTVT. “Everyone was really fascinated because people didn’t realize there were manatees there.
“Everybody saw the gators and they started to realize that manatees were there, everybody started to congregate around the top of the bridge and check it out as well,” Osha added. “I knew it was a great capture when I got that on video.”
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