January 1, 2012 with an air temperature of 75 degrees we launched our kayaks at Hunter's Spring Park in Crystal River and spent about twenty minutes kayaking to Three Sisters Springs where we had the awesome opportunity to spend time in the crystal clear water and observe these gentle marine mammals. These mammals weigh 800-1200 pounds yet they have relatively little body fat which forces them to seek out warmer water during the winter season (a minimum of 68 degrees). If they experience lower temperatures for long periods of time, they become susceptible to a potentially fatal condition called cold stress syndrome. The Three Sisters Springs is an important warm water refuge for manatees and the clear water make it very easy to observe them from above. They even like to come along the side of the kayak to be rubbed.
Florida manatees are capable of living in either salt or fresh water which is why you can find them in the slow-moving waters of the bays , canals, rivers and estuaries along the coastline. We're fortunate that we have the Crystal River Wildlife Refuge to help preserve these magnificent mammals.
For more photos of the west coast of Florida: www.ISellStPetersburg.com
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