(Photo: YouTube Screen Shot)
Snooty the manatee is celebrating his 65th birthday today.
Snooty, who currently lives in his tank at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, is the oldest manatee in captivity. He may be one of the oldest ever, and museum officials plan to celebrate by hosting a free party on Saturday.
"If you lived in a pool where people gave you a bath and fed you lettuce by hand and you had no other predators and the water was always a nice warm temperature, you'd be living long too," Brynne Anne Besio, executive director of the South Florida Museum, told AP. "He's protected, he's safe, he has a great diet, he has regular medical care, and so he's got all the odds for him in terms of living long."
Despite his age, Snooty is said to be in good health, chomping down 80 pounds of lettuce and vegetables everyday. He weighs 1,000 pounds and lives with two other manatees in his tank.
Manatee expert Robert Bonde said, "Every year we celebrate a birthday for Snooty, it sets a new records as far as the aging potential for manatees."
Bonde said that wild manatees live for about 13 years on average, with the oldest manatee being 53. Cold weather is said to be one of the biggest stresses for the manatees, including man-made threats such as boat propellers. He believes that the average wild manatee could live longer without these threats.
"It's tough to be a manatee in Florida," he said.
Snooty was born at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company on July 21, 1948. His birth was one of the first recorded captive manatee births. He is currently 9 feet and 8 inches in length.
Snooty's birthday is a popular event for the Museum. Every year, a free birthday part is held along with a Wildlife Awareness Festival. Kids enjoy taking part in the birthday card contest and receive treats from the museum.
Snooty is the museum's official mascot, and is the ambassador for manatees and other endangered species.
You can watch snooty live on the 'Snooty Cam,' hosted by the Florida museum. Viewing times are Monday-Saturday, 8:00am to 5:00pm, and Sunday, 10:00am to 5:00pm.