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Amber and I embark on an adventure in the murky and crystal clear waters of Crystal Springs, Florida. Other conservation measures deemed important to saving manatees include: research addressing biology, mortality, population and distribution, behavior, and habitat of manatees; implementation of management plans; posting of regulatory speed signs and levying of fines for excess speeds in designated areas; manatee education and public awareness programs; and public acquisition of critical habitat and creation of sanctuaries. Crystal River is home to the Florida manatee, an endangered species and marine animal of Florida that weighs 1,000 pounds and grows up to 10 feet long on average. 30 manatees). Bill “Bird” and Diane Oestreich have been operating in Crystal River, Florida since 1989. These 13 counties were: Brevard, Broward, Citrus, Collier, Dade, Duval, Indian River, Lee, Martin, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Sarasota, and Volusia. There is a minimum population count of approximately 5,000 animals according to recent aerial synoptic surveys.Breeding and Reproduction: The reproductive rate for manatees is low. We’re so glad you asked! Florida manatees have been known to migrate as far south as Cuba. There are many ways to meet manatees without taking a swim. They had a blast! 600 manatees vs. summer months = approx. Find Florida's soul in our warm Gulf water, spring-fed rivers, gentle manatees, great fishing and bountiful lakes. Manatees are believed to have evolved from a wading, plant-eating animal known as the Pezosiren. Enjoy a scenic cruise to the popular habitat of the Florida Manatee. You can spot manatees in our waterways all year round, but the population is much smaller during the summer months. The headwaters of … Alert - Closures due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Ultimately, loss of habitat is the most serious threat facing manatees in the United States today. The West Indian manatee is the species found in the coastal and inland waterways of Central America and along the northern coast of South America, although distribution in these areas may be discontinuous.Behavior: Manatees are gentle and slow-moving animals. The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is another location where you can swim with or observe manatees… Crystal River is famous for having more than 70 warm springs where manatees winter. In summer months, they can be found as far west as Texas and as far north as Massachusetts, but summer sightings in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are more common. If you head out on a swimming tour, then your guide will share all the do’s and don’ts for interacting with these precious creatures. Local springs will be less crowded on weekdays and the manatees are most active and playful in the mornings. Crystal River manatees are gentle and passive. Swim With Manatees in Crystal River, FL All manatee tours are approximately 4 hours long. Cruise on one of our air boats, harvest … Crystal River Florida Manatee Tours Family Adventure Charters specializes in Crystal River Florida manatee tours, boating and fishing charters for individuals, families and small or large groups of people. Over the years, these 13 county governments have worked with the state to develop site-specific boat speed zones to reduce the likelihood of watercraft collisions and to implement comprehensive manatee protection plans (MPP) for each county. Swimming With Giants – the Manatee of Crystal River (River Ventures, Crystal River, FL) “ Join us on The Nature Coast for adventures that range from ‘Mild to Wild’! Crystal River offers the best location to see and interact with the Florida manatee, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, also known as gentle giants. The average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs between 800 and 1,200 pounds. When resting, manatees have been known to stay submerged for up to 20 minutes. Florida manatees have been know… Jungle … This allows face-to-face interaction with manatees. During the winter months, hundreds of manatees head to our bays to warm up and escape the colder temperatures throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Crystal River 2880 N Seabreeze Point, Crystal River, FL 34429. Habitat and Range: Manatees can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals, and coastal areas particularly where seagrass beds or freshwater vegetation flourish. Ad Manatee Adventures 5.0 / 5 1 Rating Manatee Tours The kids keep on talking about our tour. Habitat and Range: Manatees can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals, and coastal areas — particularly where seagrass beds or freshwater vegetation flourish. While you may touch a manatee gently on the back or stomach with one hand, it is illegal to touch them with two hands at a time. Crystal River Manatee Tour & Dive and the Manatees in Crystal River are looking forward to hearing from you. The manatee's closest relatives are the elephant and the hyrax (a small, gopher-sized mammal). Ⓒ 2020 Discover Crystal River Florida. One of the only places in the world you can swim and play in the water with the manatees is in Crystal River, Florida. Manatees can swim up to 20 miles per hour in short bursts, but they usually only swim about three to five miles per hour.Lifespan, Mortality, and Population: The Florida manatee has no natural enemies, and it is believed they can live 60 years or more. You may also find opportunities to help on the Defenders of Wildlife Website. Mothers nurse their young for one to two years, during which time a calf remains dependent on its mother.Legal Protection: The Florida manatees in the United States are protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which make it illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. Swim with Manatees Tours is owned and operated by Bird’s Underwater Dive Shop and is located directly on King’s Bay. When the manatees make their way to Tampa Bay, so do the tourists. Local tour operators and nature guides provide a variety of options for experiencing these awesome sea creatures. Our captains are USCG licensed, and excursions are in offshore cruiser… Up To 500 Manatees Invade The City Of Crystal River In Florida Every Winter And It’s A Sight To Be Seen. They have two forelimbs, called flippers, with three to four nails on each flipper. Their status has now changed to threatened.In October of 1989, Florida's Governor and Cabinet directed the state’s wildlife agency to work with 13 "key" manatee counties in Florida to reduce injuries and deaths. The 34th Annual Florida Manatee Festival – January 16th and the 17th in beautiful Downtown Crystal River… with the manatees. They eat a large variety of submerged, emergent, and floating plants and can consume 10-15% of their body weight in vegetation daily. Manatees are a migratory species. Start planning your Crystal River trip today. Discover Crystal River Florida today! The park’s daily educational programs are open to the public. Crystal River Manatee Viewing on Florida's Nature Coast By Kara Franker A hidden gem along Florida’s Nature Coast, the Plantation on Crystal River offering two new packages that will give you the chance to swim with West Indian Manatees … The Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is another location where you can swim with or observe manatees. When manatees are using a great deal of energy, they may surface to breathe as often as every 30 seconds. Don't enter at the gate on US19, turn right at the light on W. Hall's River Rd then follow the signs to the actual site. Yes you can touch the manatees but there are rules and guidelines for interacting with them. Manatees hang around in groups, so it is not uncommon to see hundreds of manatees swimming together in this region, especially in the blue springs … You may also find a local tour guide to set up a boat tour, kayak tour, or paddleboarding trip. The recovery plan is coordinated by the U.S. From swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding to snorkeling and diving, there are many ways to meet a manatee while you’re here! When we arrive at the springs, you are encouraged to swim in the water for an up-close experience with the manatees… Most human-related manatee fatalities occur from collisions with watercraft. You can view manatees at the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, which serves as a refuge for rehabilitating captive-born manatees and helping them return to the wild. Did you know that Crystal River in Citrus County is the only place in Florida where you can swim with manatees? The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is a subspecies of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus). Hundreds of manatees make Crystal River their home during the colder months, and a few stick around all year to enjoy the refreshing water from Three Sisters Springs. Because they are mammals, they must surface to breathe air. If you’d like to see manatees up close, here’s everything you need to know about experiencing these “gentle giants.”. Three Sisters Springs and Homosassa Springs are great areas to visit if you want to see manatees! Closed Now! Swimmers and divers should minimize noise, avoid splashing, and make slow, deliberate movements. All Rights Reserved. Visit the Save the Manatee Club website to find out how you can donate and get involved in protecting this endangered marine mammal. These aquatic mammals have elongated round bodies that taper to a flat, paddle-shaped tail. Manatees typically live and play near the warm waters of natural springs. Crystal River NWR is the only refuge created specifically for the protection of the threatened Florida Manatee. Manatees are a migratory species. Since manatees are an endangered species, they are protected by law. Official Guide to Crystal River in Citrus County, Florida. They may rest submerged at the bottom or just below the surface of the water, coming up to breathe on an average of every three to five minutes. As with all wild animal populations, a certain percentage of manatee mortality is attributed to natural causes of death such as cold stress, gastrointestinal disease, pneumonia, and other diseases. The park’s daily educational programs are open to the public. Three Sisters Springs and Homosassa Springs are two of the best places to find manatees. Other causes of human-related manatee mortality include being crushed and/or drowned in canal locks and flood control structures; ingestion of fish hooks, litter, and monofilament line; and entanglement in crab trap lines. We will embark on a scenic river tour, to an area of fresh-water springs, where you will swim with manatees. There's only one place in North America where you legally swim with manatees, and that's in the Crystal River area— located about 90 minutes north of Tampa, on the west coast of Florida. The gestation period is 13 months. The peak season for observing manatees is November through April, and the local manatee population swells to its largest size between December and February. Crystal River is home to several hundred manatees. Violations of these federal or state laws can be met with civil or criminal convictions associated with monetary fines and/or imprisonment.Conservation: The Florida Manatee Recovery Plan was developed as a result of the Endangered Species Act. A high number of additional fatalities are from human-related causes. Don't miss the chance to meet a manatee up close! One of the best places to see large groups of manatees is in Crystal River, a spring-fed river that is a steady 72 degrees year round!. Within the United States, they are concentrated in Florida in the winter. When planning your trip, consider visiting the springs in the early morning and during the middle of the week. Manatee Adventures Swim with manatees in their own habitat for a thrilling adventure! We await your visit for the “Experience of a Lifetime”! Take the Ultimate Manatee Tour and Swim with Crystal River Manatees in the Wild. MANATEE ENCOUNTERS IN CRYSTAL RIVER SWIM WITH THE MANATEES Our manatee swim tours are all-inclusive, meaning that all of the snorkeling gear that you need for your experience, including the … These gentle and slow moving mammals occur primarily in Florida and southeastern Georgia usually in freshwater, brackish, and saltwater habitats. Manatee are mostly herbivorous, however small fish and invertebrates can sometimes be ingested along with a manatee’s normal vegetation diet. Crystal River Manatee Swim in Kings Bay National Wildlife Refuge 725 Reviews Get in the water with Florida's endangered manatees on this snorkeling tour to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, … “Once Florida started to open up outdoor recreation in early May, people swarmed to the waterways,” … Their head and face are wrinkled with whiskers on the snout. Manatees can't survive for lengthy periods of time in the cold Gulf of Mexico waters when the temperature drops below 68 degrees. Choose from several different Manatee tours, swimming with … Get up-close and swim with the playful manatees. Find the perfect place to stay and other cool outdoor adventures to experience in our beautiful area. Now that water temperature in the Gulf is dropping, manatees are swimming upriver in search of warmer water. The Florida manatee is related to the West Indian manatee, the West African manatee, the Amazonian manatee, the dugong, and Steller's sea cow, which was hunted to extinction in 1768. The Florida Manatee Festival also serves as a showcase for non-profit organizations and local commercial businesses that serve as the foundation of our community. Scalloping in Crystal River is Great this … Unlike other areas of Florida, the Federal Government allows for "passive observation" in the water between manatees and people in Kings Bay. We provide half-day(4-hr) manatee … In summer months, they can be found as far west as Texas and as far north as Massachusetts, but summer sightings in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are more common. Check out our amazing manatee facts page or visit the Save The Manatee Club website for more information. You can view manatees at the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, which serves as a refuge for rehabilitating captive-born manatees and helping them return to the wild. Most of their time is spent eating, resting, and traveling. Florida manatee (present in Kings Bay and Crystal River NWR year-round, but highest aggregation November – March = approx. Visitors come year-round to see the manatees and enjoy all the recreational activities the area has to offer. The Crystal Manatee Hotel extended stay suites offers nightly or weekly rates with fully furnished kitchen efficiencies in downtown Crystal River Florida. Florida manatees are also protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. Within the United States, they are concentrated in Florida in the winter. While some areas of the country get butterflies or crows migrating there for the winter, we are lucky to … A must-do down there is Homosassa Springs just south of Crystal River. It is believed that one calf is born every two to five years, and twins are rare. No matter the day of the year, you are almost guaranteed to see manatee in the Crystal River … … Manatees are very curious and social and they will frequently approach humans in the water. Crystal River is uniquely the only place in Florida that has a consistent year round population of manatee that decided to become permanent residents. ... Plantation on Crystal River 9301 W Fort Island Trail Crystal River, Florida … Our 3 different tour options each give … Manatees are not sexually mature until they are about five years old. 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