Manatees are a protected species. They are large aquatic mammals with two front flippers and a tail paddle. The are very gentle slow moving swimmers consuming approximately 15% of their body weight each and every day. Being a mammal, a Manatee must come to the surface to breathe. They might surface an average of every 5 minutes when actively swimming and feeding, or longer about every 20 minutes while resting.
They breed all year with a gestation period of 13 months long. A young Manatee is called a calf and can weigh approximately 60 lbs and be 4 feet long. Adults can reach upwards of 13 feet in length and a hefty 3000 lbs. That’s a ton and a half! Manatees are gentle and can not be disturbed. There are Manatee Safe Zones. Manatees’ have no natural enemies. Snooty the Manatee in 2017 passed away at a ripe old age of 69 years of age.
When temperatures drop during the Florida winter, herds of Manatees migrate to warmer waters. A very popular area filled with 72 degree waters is Crystal River. There can be upwards of 400+ Manatees gathered in these warmer waters during the chilly days and nights of winter. The abundance of Manatees draw members of the public to view and swim with the Manatees.
The Crystal River area offers tours by boat and water. Swimming with the Manatees is an unforgettable experience for all ages.