Today is National Manatee Appreciation Day, for some reason. Here's a few times that manatees could have been really scary if you didn't realize they were just lovable tubs of lard that are actually "incapable of using their teeth to attack."
1. When a gentle aquatic stampede of 300 manatees forced the evacuation of a Florida wildlife park.
The Three Sisters Springs is a Florida tourist destination where love-starved swimmers go to share the water with a few dozen cuddly manatees, who they're presumably not encouraged to hug and kiss. Last year, though, over 300 manatees swarmed the springs at once—forcing the staff to shut down the swimming area.
Why!? Those manatees just wanted to hang out! But, they're big, wild, dumb (sorry) animals, so probably not a great idea to combine that with big, wild, dumb (not sorry) tourists.
2. When this girl didn't realize she had nothing to fear from the creature ogling her from below.
As Someecards pointed out last year, "the manatee's enormous body is almost entirely a mixture of fat and chill." There is nothing to worry about when it comes to say hello. Probably. Says one aquatic biologist, Patrick Rose, "They're the most docile, defenseless creature there is." But they're still huge. Use your discretion.
3. When a bunch of manatees stormed a Florida beach so onlookers could watch them sniff each other's butts.
Authorities advised beach goers to just watch and definitely not participate in the manatee butt-face activities. That's because humans are the manatee's only predator—and they must be kept away from the alluringly adorable chubsters. The manatee was first listed on the Endangered Species Act in 1967, according to the National Aquarium, and they're completely helpless to habitat destruction and the dangers of reckless speedboats, unable to fight back even though they're humongous beasts.
4. When the manatee swarm returned to the Florida wildlife park to just sit in a giant pod and make sure no one else could swim.
Again, the tourist hotspot became a manatee rave—but a calm rave, because the manatees just kind of sit there not doing anything.
5. When a freaking manatee kept a lost dog company while the police came to rescue it.
Manatees, you are truly the superhero that flubber could have been if it stopped bouncing off the walls and ceiling and focused on doing good. Any other animal watching a trapped dog from behind would be considered a predator—the police just describe this encounter as: "the manatee kept our scared, wet pup company until TPD Marine Patrol could complete the rescue."
You can almost see the thought process in this Tampa Police Facebook post that led people to think manatees were mermaids. "You don't see that every day, and it's a great reminder... the importance of kindness."
There you have it. According to the Tampa Police Department, manatees are not only sentient, they're self-aware, compassionate, and even best friend to man's best friend. Even when they've got a golden opportunity to get some revenge on the humans who destroy their world, they do nothing. Because they are great.
Manatees, you are appreciated.