Visitors and fishers at the Rip Tide Bait & Tackle Pier had a special guest Wednesday morning.
The pier shared a video on Facebook of a manatee popping its head up out of the water to say “hello.” And what puzzled some of the commenters was the size of the animal.
“Manatees are on our coast but that looked like a seal,” said Kevin W.H.
“River otter. Too small to be a manatee or seal,” Marcus C. commented.
But manatees or “sea cows” do, in fact, visit the Georgia coast during the warmer months. Typically they can be spotted from April to October before migrating to Florida for the winter.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Trichechus manatus is listed as an endangered species and is protected under federal and statewide positions.
While adult manatees have no natural predators, they often collide with boats and barges due to their inability to move quickly.
To help reduce the risk of collisions and manatee fatalities, Georgia DNR urges boaters to slow down and avoid vegetated or shallow areas. If you spot a manatee, they suggest keeping 50 feet away at all times.
Sightings can be reported to the Wildlife Conservation Section coastal office at 800-272-8363 or 800-241-4113 after hours or on weekends. For more information on manatees, visit here.
Video courtesy of Evelyn Brooks