One of the most exciting aspects of residing in the state of Florida is the abundance of wildlife. While there are opportunities everywhere to encounter various species through the form of zoos and aquariums, the most incredible sightings of animals occur in the wild.
The Florida Manatee takes my breath away every time I encounter the creature. Sometimes referred to as mermaids, the mammal certainly contains beauty and grace as it slowly traverse's the waters of Florida. What makes Florida an attractive habitat for the manatee? Well, it’s the same aspect that drives many humans to the South Eastern United States, the climate. Partial to warm waters, in the winter, manatees flock to springs which sit at a constant 72 degrees year round. (To read a blog about springs visit : Spring(s) Time All Year Round!).
A specific hot spot that contains an abundance of these creatures is Homosassa Springs State Park. Lying along the Crystal River in Western Florida, this specific spring provides sanctuary for manatees.
During the warmer months in Florida, the manatees spread themselves across the state as water temperatures rise in the summer time. While they tend to remain in freshwater and estuary habitats, some aggregate around thermal waters supplied by power plants and others scatter to various locations including the coasts of beaches.
I have had personal experience swimming with manatees along the beaches of Anna Maria Island multiple times and can confirm that nothing compares to seeing natures beauty up close and personal in its most organic form. (Pictured below left: a pod of manatees in shallow waters along the coast of Anna Maria Island. Below Right: Thousands of manatees congregate in the surrounding waters of Tampa Electric Company.)