Manatee at Columbus Zoo Spent Mother's Day Caring for 2 Abandoned Babies

Stubby the manatee arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2005 after a boat strike claimed 70 percent of her tail, and ever since then this gentle giant has helped care for dozens of orphaned baby manatees who have recuperated at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

The aquarium says that Stubby helps care for the babies and shows them the ropes.

People magazine reports, ""She's the matriarch at Manatee Coast, and she makes our job easier thanks to the excellent guidance she provides to raise other manatees," Columbus Zoo manatee keeper Dan Nellis said.

"Stubby shows the newbies the ropes," Nellis added. "She nudges them to the surface to breathe and gives them a full tour of the main aquarium. She helps them find the food and is there for a snuggle when needed."

Related: Watch: Baby Manatee Comes Directly Up to Free-diver and Hugs Her

That is just too sweet, and this usually, and sadly, isn't guaranteed to happen in the wild because when a baby manatee is orphaned it is usually left to fend for itself because manatees are solitary creatures, but there have been cases of a manatee adopting an orphaned manatee in the wild.

Stubby will be spending time caring for two young male manatees who arrived at the zoo in the fall from Charlotte County, Florida, named Mr. Dobak and Nighthawk, until they are able to be released back into the wild.

Fun Facts About Manatees

They are such gentle creatures.<p>Ray Aucott/Unsplash</p>
They are such gentle creatures.

Ray Aucott/Unsplash

Manatees, are slow. So slow they are one of the slowest moving sea creatures and these gentle giants only move at a speed of about three to five miles an hour.

Manatees usually only have one calf at a time and most births are of a single calf that is about 47 inches long and weighing 66 pounds, although a few cases of twins have been documented.

Calves nurse when they are born and begin to eat plants a few weeks after birth. Another cute fact about mama Manatees from Save The Manatees.org?  Female manatees do not attack other manatees or humans that approach their young. Instead, they attempt to keep other manatees and human divers away from their calves by swimming between the intruder and their offspring. Manatee calves usually stay with their mamas from one to two years.

Manatees like warm water and they prefer temperatures above 68°F  and migrate seasonally to warmer areas during colder months to avoid cold-stress-related health issues, which is why you often see them in places like Florida.

If you would like to see these beautiful sea cows in person, you can get information about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium including location, hours and ticket prices by visiting their website here.

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