Fort Pierce, FL | The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a Florida woman from a frightening assault by a herd of manatees yesterday near Pepper Park Beach, a popular beach in the area.
The tourist on vacation went for a swim near 2pm in the afternoon when she was suddenly caught up by a herd of male manatees that possibly mistook the poor woman for a female manatee.
“I was just playing around in the water when I suddenly noticed a herd of manatees next to me. At first I was curious, but eventually I became scared when they started getting agitated” she recalls, visibly traumatized by the latest events.
« Then something pulled me underwater and as I gagged for air, I felt the crushing weight of one of the beasts on my back and at that moment, I thought I was going to die »
– Julie Dorset
“It all happened in a flash, all I remember is the horrifying sight of the manatees trying to grab me and force me into submission. Luckily, a man on a jet ski caught their attention and scared them away moments before the Coast Guard rescued me,” she told local reporters.
A bloody vaginal discharge
The sexual assault of the herd of manatees on a human being could be explained by the menstrual cycle of the vacationer, believes Jane Keller, professor of biology at the University of South Florida.
“When a female manatee goes into estrus, she is soon detected and pursued by numerous male manatees throughout the cycle. During that time, the female can mate with a dozen or more males in what is known as an estrus or mating herd. It is possible that the animals mistook the bloody vaginal discharge of the victim’s period as a female manatee in estrus,” she explains.
“I would definitely suggest that women not go swimming during their menstrual cycle in areas where manatee mating occurs,” she warns.
Lucky to be alive
Tyler Smith, a 17-year-old lifeguard present during the sexual assault, believes she is lucky to be alive.
“We often see manatees nearby but it’s the first time they attack someone,” he admits.
“There were so many manatees around her, I think I counted at least 10 of them. They were all fighting against each other to get on her back and hump her, it was like a big manatee gangbang. She is definitely lucky to be alive” he acknowledges, visibly distraught by the whole affair.
Although experts claim this is an unprecedented and isolated incident, increased security measures will be taken to prevent further occurrences of such tragic incidents, say local authorities.