Over 300 manatees close Crystal River Hot Springs in Florida

Florida, the sunshine state, right? Well, this last month has felt a bit colder than Floridians are used to, and apparently, the manatees weren’t too happy about it. The hot springs in Crystal River, FL is a hotspot for divers and swimmers, but due to the manatees, it has been closed off now for a few weeks. The gentle creatures have taken a liking to the warm waters from the hot springs and don’t plan to leave anytime soon it seems. In fact, more have been gathering to hide out from the cold weather.

“They’re basically chilling in the springs sleeping,” Ivan Vincente was quoted, Ivan is a visitor services specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. “They’re spending the vast majority of the time resting and conserving energy.”

Seems like a good way to spend the winter time!

It was unusual to see the manatees stay for such a long time, they have been camping out since January! The hot springs may very well be closed, but that doesn’t stop visitors from coming out to see the mammals by lining the boardwalk nearby.

Manatee lovers are flocking to see the awesome creature. Most that are tourists are really fascinated by the creatures that can be as heavy as 1,200 pounds! People are describing the sight as if seeing floating, giant brown boulders that stand out in the clear blue waters. It has been said watching these creatures have a calming effect on people.

Sadly, manatees are not able to handle cold weather. They can die if the waters are below 68 degrees from cold stress and hypothermia. The weather and boats are the most common causes of deaths for manatees. Thankfully their numbers are on the rise. They are being considered for removal from dire to threatened on the endangered species list. I still feel this is an early decision, and hope they reverse this choice. Manatees need more time to populate and grow before their status changes.

This is a video from the manatee take over: