At 8:30 am, the river just outside of the park was getting full with people swimming with the manatees. There are sections of the river that are off-limits so the manatees can get away from the tourists if they want to be left alone. They are curious and friendly and usually don’t shy away from people as long as they don’t get overcrowded.
All of those spots in the water are manatees huddled together for warmth. This is one of the warmest parts of the springs so they spend the winter here.
A few of them coming up for air.
There are lots of resident alligators at the wildlife park. They are fenced in so they can’t eat the tourists.
The river otters are very curious. They will come up to the rail and sniff you and then slid into the water and do tricks, rolling over and popping up in the middle of the pond as if to say “Watch me do this one!”
A few of the beautiful flamingos at the park.
The Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park has so many different critters. The wild manatees come into the springs to stay warm but the park also has many permanent residents, many of them injured. If wild manatees are sick and get stranded somewhere else, they can end up here at the manatee hospital to recoup in the warm water.
As I was walking down the trail I saw a head pop up in the creek.
All of a sudden 3 more heads pop up past me. They were heading the other way.
I turned around and headed that way also. I walked along the bank of the creek and every other minute a head would pop up. One of them looked right at me.
They started climbing up on the rocks in front of me.
They seemed curious as to who I was. I backed up to get this picture in and I did not want them to get too close.
I was taking pictures right into the sun so it was not ideal but they were so cute.
What a face!
They stayed on the rocks for a few minutes looking around and then all 4 of them slid back into the water and headed down the creek. The end of the creek was close by and they went into the tunnel under the street.
I was pretty excited to see them at Largo Nature Preserve. There’s not much there at this small park but I had heard several times that otters had been sighted there. I went totally not expecting to see them and there they were. Swimming right beside me on the trail in the first 30 minutes I was there. They came and went fast though. I’ll be back to see them again.
Otters are not quiet when they eat. We heard this guy munching on the fish before we saw him. We knew there were otters running around on the trail and kept our eyes open. We followed this guy down the trail for a while and saw him eat 3 different fish.
His mom never told him to chew with his mouth closed.
Taking a breather, he stopped for a few seconds and then took off again.
Yum, another one.
It was as if he was saying “See what you’re missing?”
There was a group of us following three otters along the trail. Two took off farther into the marsh and this one stayed right against the trail. He moved fast. He would dive into the water (which seemed shallow to us) and then several hundred feet down we’d see his head pop up with another fish. He sat up right in front of us to eat but the reeds along the edge of the trail made it a challenge to get a clear shot. It’s not often the otters are out in the open on a busy Saturday morning with so many people on the trails. I guess because the weather was perfect, sunny and cool, they were more playful. At one point there about 10 people standing on the trail talking and one of the otters zipped across the trail right in front of them. It was about 30 minutes of “who cares about the birds.” time.