From the Fort Myers News-Press:
Be on the lookout: one of Florida’s great animal migrations is underway.
Manatees are moving from their inland, warm-water winter retreats to coastal bays and oceans for the summer.
A tropical marine mammal that prefers water temperatures of 68 degrees and above, manatees can become more prone to sickness and disease when water temperatures get below that mark, as they typically do in the winter here.
To combat the cold, manatees migrate to inland waters, where natural springs and water from power plants keep them warm.
“Manatees migrate to warmer-water habitat that they know in the fall and winter to help them survive winter’s cold,” said Michelle Kerr, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Generally, manatees use freshwater springs and the outflow of power plants, which also can be found near the coast or inland.”
Bonus! Watch as dozens of manatees congregate at Jensen’s Marina on Captiva Island; video captured by Andrew West of the News-Press: