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The Granddaddy Of Manatees Is Ready For Breakfast (And Lunch...)

Help the mascot of Manatee County pay for his groceries. Because 15 tons of carrots and kale aren't gonna pay for themselves.

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Say hello to Snooty, the world’s oldest manatee living in captivity.

He's also an ambassador for manatees and other endangered species (a very distinguished job for an animal of his distinguished age).

“Baby Snoots” was born July 1948 in Miami.

These gentlemen helped move him to the South Florida Museum on the Gulf Coast a year later. In 1993 Snooty got his own crib at the museum's Parker Manatee Aquarium.

He’s a big fella (9 feet long, 1,100 pounds), and he racks up a food tab that's almost as humongous as he is.

Fritz Chaleff, a local resident and supporter of the aquarium, created this crowdfunding campaign on Rally.org to help purchase some of the food needed to satisfy Snooty's appetite.

Every day the aquarium staff hand-feeds Snooty about 80 pounds of carrots, broccoli, apples, vitamin supplements and dark, leafy greens. (That's almost 30,000 pounds of food a year.) Right now, he's chowing down on lettuce.

Here's the heartwarming reason why we have to keep Snooty strong and healthy: He's a therapy animal.

Manatees living in the wild close to Florida's coastlines frequently face deadly threats from humans. With summer and the height of motorboat season approaching, more manatees will likely get cut and slashed by boat propellors.

Some at-risk manatees go to state programs to receive veterinary care. Before their release back into nature, they come to Snooty's home aquarium. As their wounds heal they spend time swimming in the rehabilitation tanks with him so they can readjust to life around other manatees.

Isn't manatee therapy adorable?

An adult manatee and a baby manatee currently are undergoing rehab, which means they get plenty of playtime with Snooty. The baby (the little guy in the upper left of the trio) is about three feet long. He's still learning how to be a manatee, so he follows Snooty around. A lot.

"They look like a father-and-son or big brother-little brother pair," said Fritz Chaleff, the Snooty fundraiser. "When Snooty rolls, the little guy rolls. He's clearly copying him. It's just so cute."

This manatee ambassador needs your help.

Some Floridians are already out on the waterways for day trips and afternoon boating, so the aquarium wants to warn boaters about their speed going through high-volume manatee areas. And Snooty is the happy, whiskered face of their awareness campaign.

To learn more about Snooty and to contribute to nursing injured manatees back to health, visit rally.org/snootythemanatee.

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