Florida natives are very familiar with all sorts of creatures. One of the animals that are prevalent there, but not other places is the manatee. All along the coastal state, manatees live and play in the shallow bayous reaching inland like slow-moving fingers. Many visitors are frightened when they decide to enjoy a day out on the water, only to find “manatee warning” signs stuck in the mud in almost every body of water. But they are nothing to be afraid of at all!

Manatees are peaceful creatures, typically spending their days lounging and lazily swimming through the soft currents of the warm bayous. Sometimes they’ll surface, acting more like sea-dogs than any frightening image that visitors may have conjured up.

Two paddleboarders recently experienced this first-hand when a friendly manatee suddenly appeared next to their small rafts. Luckily, these two kept their cameras running and captured some absolutely heartwarming footage for us all to enjoy!

They managed to make physical contact with the happy animal, even holding its hand at one point. It was an experience unlike anything they’d ever seen, but it’s far from uncommon with these adorable sea-creatures.

Not too many people know the finer details of the strange beast known only as the manatee. This is what has led to much of the confusion regarding how dangerous they can be, but the reality puts any misconceptions in check.

“Well known for their gentle, slow-moving nature, manatees have also been known to body surf or barrel roll when playing,” Defenders.org describes.

The organization is also publicizing this month as “Manatee Awareness Month,” with a request for support in the protection of the manatees that many Floridians know and love.

“It’s a life-changing experience for some folks,” Capt. John Pann, a manager of an adventure center featuring manatees told Awesome Ocean recently. “You get in the water, you see how friendly and loving they are, you’re much more likely to want to protect that animal. You’ll never speed through a manatee zone again.”

This particular clip of these friendly animals was posted by local Florida news station WPTV, and garnered around 6.3 views in the time since! Turns out that a lot of people like manatees and want to watch their funny antics – now we just need to get those people to support their conservation.

“Unfortunately, the Florida manatee population is endangered, and these animals face a number of human-made threats. In November, as manatees search for the warm-water shelters once common along the Florida coast, we take this time to raise public awareness for these beloved yet endangered sea creatures,” Defenders.com continued.

They describe collisions with watercraft as the leading cause of death, with residential development also deserving of blame for destroying their habitats – something that these endangered animals rely on now more than ever. It will take significant efforts from groups like this to save the Florida manatee, and they are ready to give it their all. But they’ll need help from the public to pull it off!

What do you think about this amazing clip featuring these wonderful sea creatures? Share your thoughts in the comments below and start a conversation!