Snooty celebrates 65th birthday - FOX 13 News

Snooty celebrates 65th birthday

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BRADENTON (FOX 13) -

It's a big weekend for one resident of Manatee County - an appropriate name for the birthday boy.

Snooty, a manatee at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, is turning 65 years old on Sunday. He's the oldest living manatee in captivity, and experts say he may be one of the oldest in the world.

The 9-foot-8 long, 1,000-pound mammal was born in captivity on July 21, 1948 and was originally named "Baby Snooks" after a popular radio character.

He spent the first year of his life at the Miami Aquarium doing tricks with his mother before being brought to Bradenton in 1949 for the DeSoto Heritage Festival.

A birthday party for Snooty will be held on Saturday at the museum, where he shares a tank and eats about 80 pounds of lettuce and other vegetables every day, according to the Associated Press.

Researchers at the United States Geological Survey in Gainesville celebrate Snooty's birthday every year because of his unusually long life.

The AP reported the average life of a manatee is only about 13 years old because of man-made threats and environmental conditions. Aside from Snooty, the longest living manatee in Florida was 53 years old.

Researchers say that if it weren't for the dangers of boat-propellers and other threats to their natural habitats, manatees could live just as long as Snooty in the wild.

Some people have claimed that Snooty has actually been replaced by younger manatees, but officials at the South Florida Museum laugh it off and say Snooty's scars and his tail prove his age.

FOX 13's Charley Belcher spent the morning with Snooty and his handlers. Check out the videos.

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