Tons of manatees all huddled together to keep warm at the electric plant. It was a challenge to get good clear shots of them because the warm water coming out of the plant was creating foam that was floating around and the reflection of the plant on the water. The water was clear but the lagoon sits right under the plant so the big stacks on the plant were causing some reflection.
Many of them had barnacles on their back which I’ve read is harmless for them.
Some of them had very distinct boat strike markings. Manatees are very slow moving animals and if boaters are going too fast in the “no wake” or slow wake” zones, they can hit the manatees.
Manatee tail flopping.
Taken with my phone, you can see the shadows of the people on the deck.
The water in the open bay was close to 60 degrees while the water in the lagoon was 72 degrees.
Watching the fish go by in the underwater viewing deck at Homosassa Springs Park.
Wild manatees close to the dock including the bottom one that was nursing 2 babies. The top one had algae growing all over his body so he must be pretty old.
Usually underwater, the gators were taking a nap in the sun.
Just outside of the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, you can go on a tour to swim with in the river where the manatees hang out. There are many roped off areas that you cannot enter so the manatees can get away from the humans if they want to. There’s a dock inside the park that looks over this area and this is where I spent part of a recent Saturday morning watching the manatees swim by. A young girl was hanging out close to the dock and a manatee swam right up to her.
She wasn’t moving and the manatee came right up to her and bumped her in the face. He definitely wanted a scratch. She would scratch him for a few minutes and he would swim away but then come back again several times. It was pretty amazing to watch and I know she had to be so excited for this encounter.
At one point another manatee started swimming back and forth against her flipper like he was using it as a scratching post.
What a great memory for her.
There are manatee patrols out keeping an eye on things to make sure no one is chasing the manatees or the area doesn’t get too crowded. They are all volunteers and I would think “What a great job” but they probably have to deal with some unsavory people at time. Probably not everyone is as respectful as the girl was with the manatees. I’m not a big fan of people being allowed to swim in the same area with them but it was great even being out on the dock watching the girl and her manatee.
It’s not often you get this close to a shark. Above are some of the bigger things under water at MOTE Aquarium in Sarasota.
The Aquarium rehabilitates and houses permanently injured turtles, manatees and dolphins. The turtle above was missing an eye.
We don’t have crocodiles in the Tampa Bay area, at least not yet. They can be found in areas much farther south including the Everglades. I’ve never seen one out in wild. They look very comical, almost like a cartoon.
Pretty flowers in the water at aquarium.
This turkey made it through Thanksgiving weekend. He seemed a little skittish when I saw him just off the trail in early November.
I saw Oreo (resident black and white feral hog) in the swamp near the nature center.
Other critters along the trail. It was interesting to see the squirrel eating a big mushroom.
A few tiny critters at Circle B Bar Reserve in early November.