The manatee ventured inland to the Little Neck Creek at the Oceanfront.
T.J. Browning was having a normal day at work when all of a sudden a large manatee swam up for a drink out of the hose he was using the clean his platoon boat. At first, he was shocked to see a manatee that far inland, but he quickly pulled out his phone to film the moment, and we are sure glad he did!
Though Browning has encountered manatees before, he has never seen them that far inland. Out of concern for the animal, he contacted the Virginia Aquarium, letting them know of its location and health status.
The Aquarium staff told him that it was not that uncommon to see them that far inland as they are prone to wander to shallow locations between the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and Rudee Inlet. They receive one to two reports of sightings per year.
During his observation of the animal, Browning said the manatee showed clear signs of healed propellor wounds on his body. He also estimated it to be about 10 feet long and 4 feet in diameter (wow, that's big).
"It was just by luck he swam by and I had the hose running," said Browning, who operates Bay Venture Boat Rentals on Little Neck Creek at the Oceanfront.
Browning was not causing any harm to the animal and did the right thing by calling the Aquarium.
Dr. Alexander Costidis from the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center says that it is not uncommon to see the manatees in Virginia Beach during the summer. Interaction with water vessels are also the leading cause of manatee deaths, and that is what makes this encounter both concerning and disturbing.
Have you seen a manatee that far inland before? Did you approach it or leave it? Do you think Browning made a good choice by letting the animal drink from the hose? Tell us in the comments!