Manatees in the front yard: Ida raises Dog River

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – A family saw an odd sight in their front yard along Dog River as Hurricane Ida’s rainbands brought on high waters.

Stephanie Williamson’s security camera caught manatees swimming in her yard after Hurricane Ida’s storm surge caused waters to rise.

“I just looked out the window, and I could tell they were up in the yard, and when they hit the bulkhead and just kept coming over a little bit and kind of waddled around, and then went back into the water, so it was pretty cool,” Stephanie Williamson said.

The animals exposed their backs then disappeared into the water. Her family’s four-legged family members played a large role in her catching the sighting.

“One dog, our Nic-Nic, we call her the manatee spotter. She is really good. I think she notices the footprints or smells them — she has a certain bark, our neighbors even know it, so they know, ‘Hey, Nic-Nic is telling us there is a manatee out there,’ so everyone runs and looks for them. And we have a bloodhound that kind of takes over and makes that announcement to everybody,” Williamson said.

It’s not their first time seeing these marine mammals in their area with the help of their manatee spotter, but they say this one was special amid the worries of Hurricane Ida.

“We do see them starting usually around April until it starts to get cool around October, but this was abnormally close to the house,” Williamson said.

After this sighting, they went back in for shelter and safety but also made a call to the manatee sighting network, a regional group that tracks the animals.

“You should never approach them. They are wild animals, and it could be detrimental for them and you, but we do want to make sure that they are okay,” Williamson said.

If you spot a manatee, call the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Manatee Sighting Network toll-free at 1-866-493-5803 or email manatee@disl.org. For more information about the Manatee Sighting Network, click here.

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