Sunday, January 31, 2010

Manatee Faces at the TECO Plant

It was a cold and windy day in Tampa. When we got to the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center the people looked as huddled together from the cold as the manatees. Usually you see shadows of the manatees' large bodies under water. Every so often a tail or snout will emerge. Today a large number of manatees had their heads sticking out of the water.

They were all facing the same direction like a classroom of school children facing the teacher. We have no idea what they were looking at. Their eyes are so tiny considering how huge the rest of their bodies are.  I would think that the cold wind would make them want to stay under water.  Maybe they were resting in the shallows.  They would have been swimming in the same direction from the deeper water to the shallows and maybe they decided to stay put and rest.

This area is a winter sanctuary for the manatees.  They have been in distress due to the long duration of cold weather in Florida this winter.  It is the coldest winter in about 20 years.  Manatees are warm-blooded mammals and can't tolerate water that is colder than 68 degrees for long periods of time.  The manatees gather at natural springs and in warm water around power plants to survive the cold.

More photos of the manatees at TECO.

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