So how do manatees know when it’s time to find a hot springs or warm water to keep from dying? They don’t look overly intelligent, but somehow they know that water temperature dropping below 68 degrees can be fatal. So they begin to move to warmer water.
Fortunately for them (and me!) this cold streak isn’t going to last long enough to drop the water temperature below 68 degrees, but whenever it’s chilly (and particularly when it’s gray and chilly), manatees somehow know to head for the state’s abundant natural hot springs, supplemented by power plants discharge water.
Since it was misting and too chilly to really enjoy doing anything yesterday, we escaped our cozy living quarters and visited Manatee Park, where the nearby power plant keeps the water in the high 70s – 80 year round. Manatees were definitely congregating in the warm waters.
I have to wonder with the current and volume of manatees if there’s any sea grass left to eat. But maybe they swim out to the river to eat and back to the warm water to warm up. Since they eat over 100 pounds of seagrass/vegetation a DAY, their meal require several hours.
Someone forgot to tell manatees that visitors to the park would be happier if they’d be a bit more photogenic, but they’re just not. I overheard a small boy tell his grandma that he wanted to see the WHOLE manatee, not just a nose. She wasn’t having much luck explaining that all you really see is the nose. The boy was bored. Too bad because they are fascinating creatures, but not photogenic…
But here are a few more photos, just for fun.
Do you have a favorite spot in Florida to watch manatees? On a normal day, we watch them swim past our boat in the marina — the manatee parade swims in in the morning while we sip our coffee and swims out during sunset cocktail hour. Please leave a comment and share your favorite spot to watch manatees, the weather’s not all that great here, maybe we’ll need another road trip! Cheers! Jan