By Jack Williams
A keen canoeist was left stunned recently, when he discovered a young manatee calf chewing on discarded plastic.
The moment was filmed by Michael McCarthy on November 10, 2018, and in the shocking footage, the creature can be seen chomping on the waste for a number of seconds.
Despite only being able to capture a short clip of the manatee eating the plastic near St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, Michael, 50, insisted that it then took him a good 20 minutes to take the item from the creature.
Needing to turn his camera off while he attempted to helped the animal, Michael said the manatee thought retrieving the plastic was a game, and so turned away as the canoeist tried to grab the plastic.
Having eventually helped the manatee calf – which he named Tater Tot – Michael was then treated to a show, as the young animal hung around his canoe while its mother grazed nearby.
Michael said: ” I really couldn’t believe it and it took a few moments to process.
“I knew I had to get it away from him though.
I want people to pick up trash when they see it, even if it isn’t theirs.
“And I want them to realize that trash can kill a variety of animals in a variety of ways.
“I want people to pick up trash when they see it, even if it isn’t theirs.
“And I want them to realize that trash can kill a variety of animals in a variety of ways.”