Habitat & Migration
Spring and summer, winter and fall......there is no other thrill we have quite like seeing new babies in the Bay. We know that here in Crystal River they have a better chance of survival than anyplace else on the planet!!
This manatee swimming through a canal in Woodland Estates in Crystal River got a snoutful of gasoline as it came up for air.
In this short film from Dive Documentaries, tour operator Captain Broderick highlights the correct way to observe the creatures in their natural habitat.
They counted 3,731 manatees on Florida’s east coast and 2,400 manatees on the west coast of the state for a total of 6,131, according to a news release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg. That’s 500 fewer than last year’s total.
But now scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey have developed the first laboratory test for detecting manatee DNA in water samples, so they can say with certainty where manatees live.
So far, 166 manatees have died statewide through March 2. Cold spells are to blame for 51 deaths.
The manatees of Crystal River and Homosassa are Florida manatees, which are a subspecies of the larger West Indian manatee population. They eat only plants, and in the warmer months, they rove up and down the Gulf and Atlantic coasts in search of food. The area does have resident manatees year-round, so summertime manatee sightings are possible, but the fact that they’re so mobile significantly lessens your chances.
Our highest count of manatees was done in mid-Jan and the aerial report was more than 800 manatees in the area!
A great video featuring mom & calf in Crystal River, Florida
This is the time of year manatees flock together to deal with dropping temps, amassing in springs and water discharge basins to take advantage of the (relatively) warmer waters.