Dead manatee found in Patuxent River

April 17, 2010|By Michael Dresser | Baltimore Sun reporter

The badly decayed body of a manatee was found washed up by the shore of the Patuxent River last week, apparently the first such discovery in Maryland, officials at the Calvert Marine Museum said.

According to officials, the dead aquatic animal was found Monday evening by exhibits technician Skip Edwards a few miles north of the museum in Solomons at the southern tip of Calvert County. The discovery was confirmed by Spephen Godfrey, the museum's curator of paleontology.

The large, sea grass-eating mammals are normally found off Florida and other in other warm waters but have been known to occasionally travel northward along the Intercoastal Waterway in summer. Museum officials speculated that the dead manatee may be the same one that was seen swimming in the Patuxent in September.

Because winter water temperatures in Maryland are too cold for manatees to survive, officials guessed that the animal died of hypothermia and that its carcass came ashore when temperatures began to rise. Museum officials said it was the first documented discovery of a dead manatee in Maryland. Museum officials say the skeleton may eventually be put on display at the institution.

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