Snuggly Manatee Latches onto Snorkeler’s Leg


Florida’s Crystal River is renowned for its aquatic wonders, and for Kendra Nicole, an aquatic tour guide, every day brings a new adventure. Recently, Kendra shared a heartwarming encounter she had while snorkeling, revealing a unique connection with one of the river’s residents.

In a TikTok video that quickly went viral, Kendra captured the moment when a friendly manatee approached her and, to her surprise, latched onto her leg. Far from an unwelcome intrusion, this gentle embrace was a display of affection from the manatee, who simply wanted a hug.


When they hold on and don’t wanna let go 😩😍💙 #manatee #manateeseason #mermaid #inwaterguide #manateeguide #florida

♬ Right Here Waiting – Richard Marx

Despite federal regulations prohibiting intentional contact with manatees, these gentle giants are free to initiate interactions with humans. Kendra, although tempted to reciprocate the affection, understands the importance of respecting wildlife boundaries. “They don’t have to follow the rules,” Kendra remarked, acknowledging the unique privilege of these creatures.

Manatees, with their curious and outgoing nature, often approach humans in their underwater habitat. Kendra’s experience shows the remarkable bond that can form between humans and wildlife, even in the depths of the ocean. With over a million likes and thousands of comments on TikTok, Kendra’s video captured the hearts of viewers worldwide, showcasing the beauty of human-animal connections.

This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by One Green Planet on 13 March 2024. Image Credit: Thierry Eidenweil/Shutterstock

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