Why Manatees Love Crystal River, FL

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It’s hard to say if manatees actually love Crystal River, Florida. After all, scientists can’t know for sure if mammals other than homo sapiens actually love anything.

But it’s a fact that manatees sure do spend a ton of time in the creeks, streams and lakes in and around Crystal River.

One reason may be the fact that Crystal River has made it very easy for manatees to live freely and peacefully because of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge, located at 1502 S.E. Kings Bay Drive (phone: 352-563-2088), was created in 1983 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specifically to protect the endangered West Indian Manatee. The refuge ensures that one of the last unspoiled as well as undeveloped manatee habitat in Kings Bay stays that way. (Kings Bay forms the headwaters of the Crystal River.)

The refuge makes sure the warm spring waters stay clear and pure, providing much-needed habitat for the manatees that migrate here each winter.

The refuge is 177 acres in size and includes several islands and 40 acres of manatee sanctuaries. Kings Bay, in which the refuge is located, is fed by numerous warm-water springs (temperature 72 degrees F).

Manatees are creatures of habit and will return to the same winter haven year after year.

How many manatees love Crystal River? Winter (October-March), when the Gulf’s waters move below 68 degrees F (too cold for Manatees), sees up to 500 manatees migrate to the Crystal River area, one of the largest number of manatees in one place throughout Florida. (Some never leave: about 50 stay in Crystal River area during the summer months).

Visit Crystal River and take one of our manatee tours every year and don’t be surprised if you come across a manatee you’ve already met : manatees are believed to have the ability to live up to 60 years of age! Yet manatees are killed every year due to being rammed by boats (and cut up by the boat’s propellers), among other “man-made” deaths (manatees have no natural predators). Manatees are on the Endangered Species List due to their dwindling numbers. (It was believed that there were only 2,500 manatees left in the U.S. in 2003; estimates now place the number at closer to 5,000).

So why do manatees love Crystal River, Florida? Like many people who travel to Florida during the winter months, the manatees come here for the warm water and also because Crystal River offers them a safe haven to bask in that warmth. Which, in our mind, is a very good reason indeed to love Crystal River.

Swimming with the Manatees boasts the best water adventure in Crystal River, Florida with lots of things to do for you and your family. For more information, contact us online, or call us at (352) 571-1888.

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