BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) – Officials from a Florida museum say a 69-year-old manatee that died over the weekend got trapped in a maintenance tube and drowned.
During a news conference Monday, officials from the South Florida Museum in Bradenton said Snooty the manatee somehow gained access to the 30-by-30 inch (75-by-75 centimeter) tube and was not able to turn around.
Museum executives said the panel on the tube was last opened five years ago and is for emergency use only.
Manatees usually surface every 2-5 minutes but can stay underwater for 20 minutes. They cannot swim backward.
Snooty was the longest-living manatee in captivity and turned 69 two days before his death.
He had been in good health, eating about 80 pounds (35 kilograms) of vegetables every day to sustain his 1,000-pound (450-kilogram) body.