Manatee Babysitter

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Thanksgiving brings everyone together, so inevitably sometimes there appears the odd “unwelcome guest”, also known as “The Guest Who Would Never Leave”. This happens in manateeland too, and here is their day-before-Thanksgiving story.

If you have gone to see manatees you know it’s been difficult to observe them lately because it’s so unseasonably warm. That’s good for manatees though, warmth assures they have extra opportunities to feed, take care of their calves and socialize before the winter cool down when they gather at the springs.

Theo and I went on Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving. I knew it would be a 50/50 chance of seeing manatees in the clearer springs at Crystal  River. But we gave it a go and hoped for good luck!

male manatee, mom and calf, springs Surprise! Early arrivals! An eager male manatee chases an algae-covered mom and calf at Three Sisters Springs.

Manatees arrived earlier than I predicted, but fortunately I know this can occur so we were ready. And little did I know we would witness a bit of manatee drama.  Continue reading

Max the Munching Manatee Calf

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Little manatees are truly special! Seeing them in the clear blue waters of Florida’s freshwater springs is indeed magical.

My second encounter with this robust little male calf occurred two days ago on a “lucky” Friday the 13th. I’ll call this calf “Max” for our narrative, as we don’t know what his mother calls him? ­čÖé

[Note: These color photographs were taken two days before the current USFWS sanctuary closures went into effect Nov.15-March 31 at Three Sisters Springs.]

Max the Munching Manatee takes a breath. You may be able to see a few blades of aquatic grass hanging from his snout.┬áNov. 13, 2015.manatee calf,Three Sisters Springs,┬ęCGrant-oceangrant.com

Max diving down for more munching! Nov. 13, 2015.manatee calf, Three Sisters Springs, ┬ęCGrant-oceangrant.com

During the peak winter season when manatees gather in the warm springs there are hardly any blades of tasty greens left… Continue reading