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Manatees
 
         

Photos by Aqua Marine Images

     
 

   Manatees are very passive and loving creatures. Crystal River and Homosassa have a year round population of Florida Manatees. Crystal River and Homosassa Springs are known as the homes of the largest herds of wintering Manatees that enjoy the protection of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. There is a resident herd year round but as the Manatees seek warmer water between October and March, the opportunity for Manatee viewing and “close up” scuba or snorkel encounters increases during these months.

    If you would like the thrill of taking Manatee pictures or swimming with a Manatee, the Nature Coast should be your destination. Many in places in Citrus County offer Manatee tours and trips. For first or second timers I suggest a guided Manatee tour on a licensed Captain’s vessel. They know how to quickly locate Crystal River or Homosassa Manatees. A Manatee tour Captain is also very knowledgeable and readily shares stories with patrons. Many Charter Captains offer to make underwater pictures or movies of their customers swimming with the manatees. You can also rent or bring your own boat to enjoy Manatees at your leisure. Manatees are waiting for you.


MANATEE FACT SHEET

Name: Florida Manatee
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Sirenia
Family: Trichechidae
Genus: Trichechus
Species: Mamatus
Subspecies: Latirostris

To Swim with a Manatee contact

Aqua Marine Images
 
Homossassa Manatee Tours
 
Manatee Dive and Tour



Description of a Manatee: Large, seal-like body that tapers to a beaver-like tail. Two forelimbs with three or four nails on each. Manatees have thick skin, with stiff whiskers on upper lip.
Color: Gray or gray-brown
Size: Typically about 9-10 feet long, weighing 1,000 pound. Can grow as large as 13 feet, weighing more than 3,000 pounds.
Behavior: Completely harmless and non-aggressive, they are often shy and reclusive.
Vision: Depth perception may be limited. Can differentiate colors.
Hearing: Manatees can hear well despite the absence of external ear lobes: directional hearing is limited. Communication: Emit sounds that are within human auditory range. They make squeaks and squeals when frightened, playing or communication, particularly between cow and calf.
Breathing: Nostrils on upper surface of snout close tightly like valves when submerged. Surfaces to breathe every few minutes when active; every 10 to 15 minutes when resting.
Range/Habitat: Primarily restricted to peninsular Florida and South Georgia. They can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals, and coastal areas, particularly where seagrasss beds flourish. Manatees can live in fresh or salt water.
Manatee Reproduction: Normally one calf every 2 to 5 years.
Manatee Population: At least 1,850 Manatees are remaining in the southeastern U.S. concentrated in Florida Crystal River and Homosassa Springs year-round.
 

 
   

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