Last updated

Snooty's 65th Birthday.JPG
Snooty at his 65th birthday in 2013, being presented a cake made of fruits and vegetables
Other name(s) Baby, Baby Snoots
Species West Indian manatee
Sex Male
Born(1948-07-21)July 21, 1948
Miami, Florida, US
Died July 23, 2017(2017-07-23) (aged 69)
South Florida Museum, Bradenton, Florida, US
Occupation Mascot of Bradenton
Known for Oldest manatee in captivity

Snooty (July 21, 1948 – July 23, 2017) was a male Florida manatee that resided at the South Florida Museum's Parker Manatee Aquarium in Bradenton, Florida. He was one of the first recorded captive manatee births, and at age 70, he was the oldest manatee in captivity, [1] and possibly the oldest manatee in the world. Due to his hand rearing from birth, Snooty was never released to the wild and was the only manatee at the museum's aquarium that had regular human interaction. [2]

West Indian manatee manatee, and largest surviving member of the aquatic mammal order Sirenia

The West Indian manatee or "sea cow", also known as American manatee, is the largest surviving member of the aquatic mammal order Sirenia.

South Florida Museum non-profit organisation in the USA

The South Florida Museum, located in Bradenton, Florida, is a natural and cultural history museum specializing in the history of Florida's gulf coast. It houses exhibits highlighting Florida history from the prehistoric to the present. The Museum also features regularly changing exhibits in the East Gallery, as well as in other small galleries throughout the first and second floors of the Museum.

Bradenton, Florida City in Florida, United States

Bradenton is a city in Manatee County, Florida, United States. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's 2016 population to be 54,437. Bradenton is a principal city of the North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton metropolitan statistical area, which had a 2017 estimated population of 702,281. It is the county seat.


Life history

Snooty and friend on his 60th birthday, July 2008 Snooty at 60.jpg
Snooty and friend on his 60th birthday, July 2008

During 1948, Samuel J. Stout, owner of the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company, acquired a permit from the State of Florida to own a single manatee, a female he had named Lady. On July 21, 1948, Lady gave birth to a male calf Stout named "Baby". Due to his permit allowing him to keep only a single manatee, he had to find a new home for the calf. Around the same time, the city of Bradenton in Manatee County wished to acquire a manatee for their 1949 De Soto Heritage Festival, and learned of the birth of Baby at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company.

Manatee County, Florida county in Florida, United States of America

Manatee County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 US Census, the population was 322,833. Manatee County is part of the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat and largest city is Bradenton. The county was created in 1855 and named for the Florida manatee, Florida's official marine mammal.

The De Soto Heritage Festival is an annual series of events that takes place in Bradenton, Florida, the location of Hernando de Soto's landing in Florida in May 1539.

After De Soto Celebration Association member Walter Hardin acquired a permit for a manatee exhibition, the city built a tank on the municipal pier and arranged for Stout to bring Baby from Miami to Bradenton for the festival. Afterwards, Stout returned with the manatee to Miami, but Stout was still only legally allowed to keep a single manatee.

In April 1949, arrangements were made to allow Baby to become a permanent resident of Bradenton's South Florida Museum, where a new 3,000-U.S.-gallon (11,000 L) round tank was completed in May for Baby. Baby began living in the tank on June 20, 1949. According to the book The Legacy: South Florida Museum, Stout arrived in Bradenton late at night and was unable to locate the museum's curator, Dr. Lester Leigh, to unlock the door, and received help from the sheriff and a group of prisoners to move Baby into his new home. [3] The manatee remained named Baby through November 1949, after which he became known as Baby Snoots, possibly by Stout, or popularly believed to have been inspired by Fanny Brice's The Baby Snooks Show . As the manatee aged, he became known simply as Snooty. [3]

Fanny Brice American actress, singer and comedian

Fania Borach, known professionally as Fanny Brice or Fannie Brice, was an American illustrated song model, comedienne, singer, theater, and film actress who made many stage, radio, and film appearances and is known as the creator and star of the top-rated radio comedy series The Baby Snooks Show. Thirteen years after her death, Brice was portrayed on the Broadway stage by Barbra Streisand in the 1964 musical Funny Girl; Streisand also starred in its 1968 film adaptation, for which she won an Oscar.

<i>The Baby Snooks Show</i>

The Baby Snooks Show was an American radio program starring comedian and Ziegfeld Follies alumna Fanny Brice as a mischievous young girl who was 40 years younger than the actress who played her when she first went on the air. The series began on CBS September 17, 1944, airing on Sunday evenings at 6:30pm as Post Toasties Time. The title soon changed to The Baby Snooks Show, and the series was sometimes called Baby Snooks and Daddy.

In 1966, the South Florida Aquarium moved from the Bradenton Municipal Pier to its current location, where a new, larger 9,000-U.S.-gallon (34,000 L) pool was built for Snooty. He was also granted official mascot status for Manatee County, Florida. In 1993, the museum underwent renovations, and Snooty was moved to a 60,000-U.S.-gallon (230,000 L) pool. The pool was renovated in 1998 to allow for better care for Snooty and now two more companion manatees for rehabilitation (in accordance with the Manatee Rehabilitation Network, the Sea to Shore Alliance, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). Since 1998, starting with Newton, the Parker Manatee Aquarium has helped in rehabilitation for 25 manatees. [2]

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is a Florida government agency founded in 1999 and headquartered in Tallahassee. It manages and regulates the state's fish and wildlife resources, and enforces related laws. Officers are managers, researchers, support personnel, and perform law enforcement in the course of their duties.


On July 23, 2017, two days after his 69th birthday, Snooty died as the result of drowning. [4] A normally closed hatch door that accesses a plumbing area was open, allowing the manatees access to an unsafe area. The younger and smaller manatees were able to go in and out of the area, but due to Snooty's size, he could not return through the hatch to access air. An investigation was conducted to determine how a hatch that was normally bolted shut became open allowing access to a restricted area. [5] The panel to the chamber where Snooty died was loose the day before his birthday. [6] At the conclusion of the investigation, South Florida Museum released a report which determined Snooty's death had indeed been preventable and cited lapses in process and procedures that should be corrected. The Museum detailed its plans to comply with the report's recommendations and also announced and that Marilyn Margold, the Director of Living Collections, no longer worked at the museum. [7]


Snooty and handler on his 63rd birthday, July 2011. The aquarium strongly discourages human interaction with manatees, but Snooty was too old to be released into the wild, and his handling was the only exception made. Snooty at 63.jpg
Snooty and handler on his 63rd birthday, July 2011. The aquarium strongly discourages human interaction with manatees, but Snooty was too old to be released into the wild, and his handling was the only exception made.

It had been discovered that Snooty was able to remember the voices of former keepers and remember training behaviors he learned when only one year old. [8]

Snooty had also been used in research with the Mote Marine Laboratory. In a 2006 study, it was shown that manatees such as Snooty were capable of experimental tasks much like dolphins, disproving the preconception that manatees are unintelligent. [9]

Snooty's birthday was a popular event at the South Florida Museum, the highlight of which was the presentation of a cake made of vegetables and fruits for Snooty while the visitors all sang "Happy Birthday" for him. Due to his known date of birth, Snooty is evidence for how long manatees are able to live. [2]

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  1. Aronson, Claire. "Guinness World Records names Snooty of Bradenton as 'Oldest Manatee in Captivity'". Bradenton Herald . Retrieved June 26, 2015 via
  2. 1 2 3 Snooty the Manatee. South Florida Museum. ISBN   978-1-56944-441-2.
  3. 1 2 Bennett, Thomas Peter. The Legacy: South Florida Museum. University Press of America. pp. 84–95. ISBN   978-0-7618-5261-2.
  4. "Snooty, world's oldest known manatee, dies one day after celebrating birthday". July 23, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  5. Chappell, Bill (July 23, 2017). "Snooty The Manatee Dies, And A Florida Community Mourns". KRCU . Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  6. "Panel to chamber where Snooty died was loose day before his birthday". Sarasota Herald-Tribune . July 25, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  7. "Snooty the manatee's death was preventable, museum says". Sarasota Herald-Tribune . August 31, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  8. Pitman, Craig (July 18, 2008). "A manatee milestone: Snooty turning 60". Tampa Bay Times . Archived from the original on June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  9. Goode, Erica (August 29, 2006). "Sleek? Well, No. Complex? Yes, Indeed". The New York Times . Retrieved March 13, 2014.