The above mural should give you an idea of what a manatee looks like. Another name for them are sea cows. They may grow up to 13 feet long and weight up to 1300 pounds. For all of that body mass they are considered gentle creatures. Manatees are the only marine mammals which are herbivorous. They use their flippers to "walk" on the ocean floor while digging for vegetation. The tail of a manatee is paddle-shaped. Their northernmost range here in the states is Georgia, as they need warmer waters to survive. From November 15 to March 31 gates are opened under the Long River Bridge in Florida to give them access to the warm spring water. The Hermosassa River flows nine miles from the springs to the Gulf of Mexico, another area where they live during the winter months. As many as 70-80 can be seen at Hermosassa Springs on any given day during the winter months. It was near the observation deck in the park where we found a couple hanging out. The springs area are also replete with 34 varieties of fish, many of which we could also see from the deck because of the clarity of the water.
Not sure when I will have another posting, tomorrow John and I are heading north again, this time to visit our son Dan and his wife in Washington, D.C.