SUNNY ISLES BEACH (CBS4) – An early morning dip in the ocean off a South Florida beach turned into big surprise for a couple of beachgoers when a curious manatee got a bit too close for comfort.

Chopper 4 was over the crystal clear waters of Sunny Isles Beach, near 174th Street and Collins Avenue shortly after 8:00 a.m. when it spotted a manatee swimming very close to shore. A couple of beachgoers were in the water and didn’t seem to notice the manatee until it was right next to them.

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Unaware of exactly what kind of large sea creature was lurking in the water right next to them, the two beachgoers were shocked as they scrambled out of the water only to learn afterwards that it was just a gentle sea cow.

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According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino, it’s manatee mating season and this particular manatee may have been trying to swim away from a few amorous male manatees.

However, Sunny Isles Beach Police reported to FWC that the manatee had sustained injuries, possibly from a boat strike, however, those injuries were not serious and the sea cow swam away on its own.

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For more information about manatees in the wild and learn what to do if you spot an injured manatee, click here for the FWC website.