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Rare manatee seen in Outer Banks marina

A manatee spotted in the Oregon Inlet Marina on Saturday, June 16, 2018.
A manatee spotted in the Oregon Inlet Marina on Saturday, June 16, 2018. Cape Hatteras National Seashore

A sea cow decided to take a vacation at the Outer Banks this weekend.

A manatee was spotted in the Oregon Inlet Marina on Saturday, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore said on social media Tuesday.

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The sea cow was a West Indian manatee, according to the park. West Indian manatees were reclassified from endangered to threatened last year.

A few manatees are seen each year along the North Carolina coast, usually along the southern third of the coast — from about Carteret County south, according to the North Carolina park system, but have been spotted as far as New Bern.

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A manatee spotted in the Oregon Inlet Marina on Saturday, June 16, 2018. Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Manatees are almost always seen in the warmer months, visiting North Carolina from Florida and other tropical waters.

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In North Carolina, manatees favor brackish waters of estuaries, bays, and large river mouths and likely migrate up and down the Intracoastal Waterway, according to the park system.

Manatees are usually very peaceful, curious, sluggish mammals, and are not afraid of swimmers or scuba divers, the park system said. They can be more than 13 feet long and weigh as much as 1,300 pounds.

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Manatees have been killed by speeding boats, though usually farther south. Habitat destruction also is a concern for the threatened species.

Manatees are mostly herbivores and eat a wide variety of freshwater and saltwater plants.

If you see a manatee, the park asks that you call 252-216-6892.

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