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Manateeny: Size isn’t everything in the Everglades (Wix)

The oceans cover some 71% of the surface of the planet, while the Earth’s waters provide some 99% of all the world’s liveable space. But despite all that empty marine real estate, things can get pretty congested beneath the waves.

So it’s good to know at least that when things get a little too bumper-to-bumper in the waters in and around Florida’s Everglades, there is apparently an improvised underwater highway code in operation to avoid any traffic jams. And Rule Number 1 of the Everglade Code is apparently as follows: alligators always give right of way to manatees.

According to Pat Rose, Executive Director of Florida’s Save the Manatee organisation, whenever Florida’s ginormous vegetarian sea-cows find themselves sharing the same shallow pools as Florida’s flesh-tearing Jurassic Park runaways, the manatees are always given the lead. So when the two waterborne giants find themselves playing underwater chicken in a narrow channel or creek, it’s the alligators—despite their carnivorousness and fearsomeness—that habitually swim to one side and let the manatees pass by.

And if they don’t, reportedly the manatees are certainly not afraid to give them a nudge or a headbutt to get them to pull over. Seemingly, it’s the Everglades’ equivalent of blowing your car horn.

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