Seeing Florida animals up close and a hippo too.

Birds you can see up-close at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park include a pair of whooping cranes that are both missing wings. They winter in Florida and were injured at some point and brought here to live. I overheard someone say “They cut off one wing so these birds can’s fly away.” and that is not true. Most of these animals are here due to man made injuries (hit by a car, a parent was hit by a car and now they are orphans, fishing lines, some were shot with a bb gun or arrow). I follow several wildlife rescue groups on facebook and it’s horrifying the things that happens to these animals.

Big animals that live at the park. On a recent episode of “Secrets of the Zoo:Tampa”, a baby bear was brought in to the zoo to be checked out when his mom died getting hit by a car. The zoo was able to secure a home for the cub here.

A snake up close.

Lu was a tv star on Flipper and was given to the park to live out his retirement. Lu is very popular with the kids and he just turned 60 in January.

I really went up to the park in January to see the manatees but there are also a lot of other fun animals to see as well.

image-in-ing: weekly photo linkup

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Critters at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

Some of the critters in the water at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park north of Tampa. I made my annual winter trip in mid-January, hoping to see manatees along the river but the weather had warmed up for a few day and the manatees had scattered around the area.

Yes, this guy was on the other side of the glass. You usually see them sleeping in the back with their eyes closed.

It seemed to be mating day that morning. Both pelicans and some wild vultures were getting frisky in the warm weather.

The calm water in the springs.

Everybody loves hippos.

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I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen the pygmy hippos out of the water at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. The baby  was born in October last year. It was a fairly cool morning in last March and the baby was moving around, rubbing his back on the tree trunk and checking everything out. I’m not sure if he was really eating the hay or just imitating Mom. A big crowd was forming and the kids were going crazy over the baby. It’s always fun to watch the kids react.

In the warm water at Homosassa Springs Park.


This is one of the main “swim with the manatees” areas. We were standing on the dock at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park watching all of the people floating around. It got very crowded as the morning went on. There are “manatee monitors” that make sure people don’t bother or chase after the manatees. If they swim up on their own, you can pet them.


Manatees were sleeping right along the bridge.


A young one coming up for air, looking right at us.


The lone hippo at the park.


The river otters were so much fun to watch swimming around.


Looks like he thinks those lost sunglasses are a toy.


Checking us out.


There’s an underwater viewing area at the park. They are very curious.  Pam and I were the only ones there that early in the morning and they all swam over to check us out. The above and below were taken with my iphone up against the dirty glass.


“Gimmi a kiss lady!”

It turned out to be a fun morning, even though it was foggy when we first got to Homosassa Spring Wildlife Park. The sun didn’t really come out until right before we left, close to lunch time. The water around the park was full of manatees. When the water around the Tampa Bay area gets cold, the manatees on the gulf side head to the springs since the water there stays warmer in the winter. It looked like there were hundreds of them there. The otters were crazy active while we were there, barely stopping for a minute. I might have to road trip up there again this spring before the summer heat sets in.

Linking up to Saturday’s Critters.