Florida Manatees in the Winter

Florida Manatees are large, aquatic mammals native to the waters of Florida and the surrounding states. During the winter months, these animals can often be found in the warm waters of Florida’s springs and power plants as well as the Florida Keys, where they gather to avoid the cold.

Manatees are generally slow-moving creatures, with a top speed of only about five miles per hour.  Florida Manatees are mostly herbivorous, feeding on a variety of aquatic plants, but they will also occasionally eat small fish and invertebrates.

Florida Manatees
Manatee and Baby

One of the most interesting things about the Florida manatee is its ability to withstand cold water. Unlike other aquatic mammals, such as dolphins and whales, manatees do not have a layer of fat, or blubber, to keep them warm in cold water. Instead, they rely on their slow metabolism and ability to store large amounts of fat in their liver to keep them warm.

Despite their ability to withstand cold water, manatees are still vulnerable to cold stress, which can cause them to become sluggish and less able to find food. This is why they gather in warm water during the winter months.

FWC – Look Out Slow Down for Migrating Manatees

How to Report a Tagged – Entangled Manatee

Enjoy Florida Keys Manatees From a Distance

Threats to Florida Manatees

In addition to facing challenges from the cold, Florida manatees also face threats from humans, such as boat collisions and habitat loss. As a result, they are protected under the Endangered Species Act, and it is illegal to hunt or harm them.

In recent years, conservation efforts have helped to improve the population of Florida manatees, but they still face challenges and require ongoing protection. If you live in or visit Florida, be sure to be on the lookout for these fascinating creatures, and do your part to help protect them.


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