Happy Holidays from Us and the Manatees

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What does Christmas have to do with Manatees? In Florida, a lot! By the time the holidays roll around, most of this area’s manatees are sheltering in and around the warm freshwater springs or using various warm water power plant channels to stay warm. With our early cold snaps this season, one is sure to see some manatees jaunting about. Now that’s another special Christmas miracle if you ask me.

Manatees celebrating the festive aspects of the season. Taken on Monday of this week in the canals of Kings Bay, Crystal River, Florida.

Here is our “Holiday Greetings from the Grants” we have been sending out to friends and family for over 25 years. I’ll post it here too:

Click on “Holiday Greetings” image for full PDF version:

It has been a fascinating start to the manatee season! I post about my recent encounters on my Facebook and Instagram pages. People have really liked the stories of “Amigo” and “Pig-Pen”. Cute manatee calves! I’ll link to their Facebook posts here, click on their photos:

“Amigo” the fat manatee calf! Click the photo for his story. Three Sisters Springs, Nov. 27, 2018.

“Pig-Pen” another rotund curious manatee calf. Click the photo for “Pig-Pen’s” story. Three Sisters Springs, Dec. 5, 2018.

One needs to be savvy about observing manatees in the springs currently as new temperature rules have been implemented to protect them when it gets too cold and the manatees gather together to keep warm. It is still possible to see many manatees, when it is too cold, from the boardwalk or in some of the other areas away from the springs. But with careful planning and a bit of luck those that need clear water and good light to capture compelling images of manatees can still make it happen. Get educated on the temperature guidelines on the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge site and plan accordingly. You may be lucky enough to capture natural manatee behaviors like this “threesome” in the beautiful springs.

Manatee mother with algae-covered calf plus a tag-a-long younger calf. Sometimes another calf who’s mother is out feeding will tag along with another female. And at times there has been documented manatee adoption. Three Sisters Springs, Nov. 27, 2018.

Currently Three Sisters Springs is “manatees only” until it warms up, but as my top photograph shows there are still opportunities to observe them in the various waterways of Kings Bay.

I wish you and those dear to you, including animals, the best this Holiday Season! Good Luck in 2019!

Best, Carol Grant