Friday, February 12, 2010

Manatees dying from the cold in Florida

If you're a snowbird, you typically go south for the winter. And that usually means Florida. Imagine sunny blue skies with temperatures hovering in the 70s. That would be typical, but nope, not this year. The deep freeze in January which lasted more than a week brought snow flurries to as far south as North Miami. It was so cold the last two days (in the 40s) that we decided to go to Walmart to buy a portable heater. Is it any surprise that all the heaters were sold out? And at Lowes too!

CNN caught my attention yesterday when it reported that 280 or more manatees have died this year due to the unusually cold weather we've had in Florida. On very cold days, these gentle creatures are normally found huddled in warm water refuges - water discharged from electric plants, with temperatures around 78 degrees. You can see manatees at the Tampa Electric Plant in Riverview, 20 minutes south of Tampa. The Manatee Viewing Center is open from Nov 1 to Apr 15, and admission is free.
Manatees at Tampa Electric Plant

Further south in Marathon, manatees are known to drink water from boats, as you can see in the video below. Hopefully, this week's cold spell is not as damaging as the last.

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  1. Oh no, that's terrible. I hope the cold spells disappear!

  2. Unfortunately, the forecast for this week is in the mid 50s, but partly sunny. I hope the manatees and other wildlife, and the farmers can tough it out for just a few more days.

  3. That is certainly sad news. They're such unique creatures...