Many Floridians are trying to stay warm in these chilly temperatures and the same can be said for our manatees.
Dozens of them are huddling together at Blue Spring State Park in Volusia County.
“It’s one of the top numbers that I’ve seen,” Tonia Warnezke said. “I’ve lived here for more than a decade.”
“When we came in the count today was 179,” Valerie D’Andrea said.
That’s a lot of sea cows.
“They come into the springs which are warmer than out there,” Warnezke said. “They like to cuddle up and get into little pods of manatees and hang out together.”
While the air is a cool 40 to 50 degrees, the water is much warmer at 72 degrees, which keeps those manatees warm.
Snapping pictures of the gentle giants floating beneath the crystal clear surface folks spotted a baby manatee.
“Well we just saw the first baby of the day,” Warnezke said. “It’s very exciting. A baby manatee hanging out with it’s mom trying to stay warm.”
As cooler weather moves in and we add on more layers, manatees are forced to follow their instincts.
“They’re not dumb,” Richard Jones laughed. “They seem to be on the sunny side.”
Experts said if the water temperature dips below 68 degrees, manatees could be at risk of “cold stress” and dying.
But at Blue Spring State Park, rangers said the water temperature remains the same all year round. Meaning now is a great time to spot a pod of manatees at the park.