Can you see manatees year-round in the springs
Watching the manatees swim around in the blue waters is a sight not to be missed. Sometimes called the Gentle giants of Florida, these manatees are a year-round sight at the Floridan springs. You can view them from the boardwalk’s viewpoint or get up close with them by going snorkeling or kayaking with the manatees.
Most often, you can find one or manatees moving around in the spring waters. But as the weather gets cold and the ocean waters get colder, the manatees start to move to the comparatively warmer spring waters. Thus, the winter months are the best time to go manatee viewing as you might be able to see manatee clusters.
Which months are best for manatee viewing?
Manatees might look fat and slippery with a lot of blubber under their skin. But in reality, they have a very thin layer of fat under their skin and an extremely slow metabolism. This means they can’t stay much longer in the cold waters, and their body can’t do much to protect themselves from the extreme cold. Thus, they move to the warmer areas they can find during winter.
The manatees club together in the spring waters during the winter months of November through march. They migrate from the cold ocean waters to the nearby springs, and therefore, this is the best time to go manatee viewing. While you might be able to spot one or two manatees in the summer months, they don’t form pools in the spring as they do during the winter months.
The manatee population in the springs reaches its peak during the harsh winter months of December through February. By the start of March, some start getting back to the ocean waters and by April, almost all of the manatees will have moved to the bigger water bodies.
Can you swim with the manatees?
Some springs let you swim through the manatees during the cold season, like the springs of the Crystal river. The best time to swim with the manatees would be during the morning, as the manatees are most active and playful during these hours. Since the weekends would be crowded, it’s best to book your tickets early and visit the springs during the weekdays when it’s less crowded.
Is kayaking allowed in the spring waters where manatees are present?
Many springs in Florida allow kayaking with the manatees. You can pick up the kayak from the rental stalls and enjoy your ride with the manatees. Go for springs like Weeki Wachee that have light blue, clear waters and a lot of manatees. You can kayak your way through the scenic spots while getting a good glimpse of the manatees swimming around.
Further, you can also go scuba diving in the springs to see various other marine life along with manatees. The park authorities will provide the scuba diving equipment on a rental basis, and you can experience guided scuba diving in the blue waters.
Where are the manatees usually found?
The manatees usually club together where there’s warm water. So look for the areas in the springs where the water is warm compared to the rest of the places, and you will easily spot a manatee or two.
Can you touch the manatees?
Yes, you are free to touch the manatees, but there are also some restrictions. You are allowed to touch the manatees with just one hand. You can either pat their back or touch their belly. But don’t try to touch them with two hands, as that is illegal. Manatees are an endangered species. Therefore, they are protected by the law, and violating the regulations can get you penalized.
If you are curious and it is your first time visiting the springs, it’s better you go with a tour guide who will properly instruct you what are the dos and don’t. Manatees, by nature, are gentle creatures and love interacting with humans. So if you were to be spotted by the manatees, they would simply swim towards you.
One thing that the manatees are afraid of is the over splashing of water and the noise it causes. As mentioned earlier, they are gentle, peace-loving creatures, and any splashing noise over water might scare them away. On the other hand, if you were to swim gently toward them, they would surely interact with you and won’t swim away like the fishes.
How do manatees survive
Manatees need warmer temperatures and a lot of seagrass beds to survive. They might look big and scary, but actually, they are gentle and cheerful herbivores. Their primary food source is the seagrass bed found on the floors of the water bodies.
But when the water bodies are polluted, these seagrass beds become dirty; therefore, the manatees are left with nothing to eat. It’s heartbreaking to know that many manatees die every year due to starvation. Thus, the government is taking strict action to ensure that the water bodies don’t get polluted and the buildup of waste materials in the water bodies is removed at the earliest to facilitate the easy movement of manatees.
To Sum it Up
Manatees are fun-loving creatures that move to warmer places when their habitat gets cold. If you want to see a large number of manatees and have a fun time with them, the winter months of November through March would be the best time to visit the spring water bodies. If you are scared enough to go near them, you can view them up close in a transparent kayak or from boardwalk viewpoints.
So what are you waiting for?
No matter what the season is, you will be able to spot a manatee or two in the Floridan springs. So, good Luck with your next manatee viewing trip!