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- "Snooty" is also an adjective for one who is a snob.
Snooty is a Florida Manatee (a sub-species of the West Indian Manatee), that resides at the South Florida Museum's Parker Manatee Aquarium in Bradenton, Florida. Born at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company on July 21, 1948 , Snooty was one of the first recorded captive manatee births. Snooty is the oldest manatee in captivity, and likely the oldest manatee in the world. Because Snooty is not going to be released into the wild, he is the only manatee at the aquarium that is allowed to interact with human handlers.
According to old-timers, he was first called Baby Snooks, named after a popular radio character on the The Baby Snooks Show played by Fanny Brice in the late 1940s. The young calf lived at the Miami Aquarium with Lady, his mother, an injured manatee, for nearly a year, where operator Sam Stout trained both Lady and her calf to do tricks. Lady was later released, but Baby Snooks was donated to Manatee County, Florida. There, due to a translation misinterpretation upon his delivery, his name got altered to Baby Snoots, likely because of the "snuffling" sounds the calf made with his "snoot" (muzzle). After he was brought to the South Florida Museum for the 1949 De Soto Heritage Festival, he was housed in a 30,000 gallon round tank at the Bradenton Municipal Pier, also the original home of the South Florida Museum and Bradenton's local radio station WTRL (now WWPR).
As he got older, the popular manatee's name was changed to Snooty. In February 1998, as part of the Manatee Rehabilitation Network, Snooty welcomed his first pool-mate Newton to the Parker Manatee Aquarium. Snooty has also shared his pool with Mo, Palma Sola, Desoto Park, Salvador, Angelito, Fort Myers Baby, Passe Grille Baby, Whitaker, Muddy Baron, Little Coral, Baby Coral, Snitch, Baby Sister, Coral Lee, Little Nap, Bolee, Cayman, and Teco 2. These manatees were rescued for various reasons; rehabilitated at the Parker Manatee Aquarium and released back into the wild in association with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The Manatee Rehabilitation Network gives several updates on a some of the released manatees, and is available online at www.wildtracks.org. Brandee and Charlie are his current tank-mates.
Snooty's ability to remember the voices of former keepers, tricks he learned when only one year old, and his affectionate and friendly nature have helped visitors understand and appreciate the intelligence and unique characteristics of the manatee. Snooty has participated in research in association with the Mote Marine Laboratory staff, contributing to our knowledge of manatees. Studies there have disproven the long-standing idea that manatees, having the smallest brain-to-body ratio, were dim-witted: thanks to manatees such as Snooty, Hugh and Buffett (ages 58, 22 and 19 in 2006), neuroscientists and biologists have concluded that manatees are "as adept at experimental tasks as dolphins." In addition to Snooty's contributions to science, he is also the subject of informative talks given several times daily to visitors of all ages, covering everything from eating habits and reproduction to physiology. Snooty's diet consists of romaine lettuce, kale, cabbage, broccoli, carrots and sweet potato.
Snooty's birthday is a popular annual event for the Museum. Each year, several generations of visitors help Snooty celebrate his birthday at a free Birthday Bash and Wildlife Awareness Festival, complete with a birthday card contest, entertainment by local groups like The Garbage-Men, and treats for the kids.
- Craig Pitman: A Manatee Milestone: Snooty Turning 60 July 19, 2008 http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/wildlife/article705955.ece
- Manatee County Public Library Historic Photograph Collection University of South Florida Libraries http://kong.lib.usf.edu
- Erica Goode: "Sleek? Well, No. Complex? Yes, Indeed" New York Times,August 29, 2006 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/29/science/29mana.html
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