Snooty Dead at 69

Museum

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY JUL 24, 2017

Snooty, Manatee County’s beloved mascot and the oldest known manatee in the world, died the night after a birthday bash honoring his 69th birthday, officials from South Florida Museum announced on Sunday. In the end, it wasn’t natural causes which claimed Snooty’s life, but a “heartbreaking accident” in his tank.

He had so much personality that people couldn't help but be drawn to him,” said Brynne Anne Besio, South Florida Museum CEO. “As you can imagine, I— and our staff, volunteers and board members—considered him a star and we all deeply mourn his passing.”

Besio said Snooty was found Sunday morning in an underwater area only used to access plumbing for the exhibit life support system. “Early indications are that an access panel door that is kept bolted shut was dislodged and that Snooty was able to swim in, but there was insufficient space for him to turn around,” she said. “We're reviewing what happened and will be continuing to look into the circumstances surrounding his death.” Snooty's habitat undergoes a daily visual inspection and there were no indications of problems the previous day, museum officials said. Three smaller manatees in the tank were fine.

Snooty, born Baby Snoots at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company on July 21, 1948, originally came to Manatee County in 1949 as part of the Desoto Celebration before moving into the South Florida Museum permanently that same year. Since 1979, Snooty has been Manatee County’s official mascot.

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