Hundreds of manatees seek warmth in Three Sisters Springs

- Humans aren't the only ones feeling the chill during Florida's cold snaps!

When the temperatures plunge, manatees head inland toward warmer waters in several of the state's natural springs, including those in Crystal River in Citrus County.

According to FWC, manatees cannot survive for long when water temperatures drop below 68 degrees. Prolonged exposure to colder water temperatures can cause manatees to lose body heat and develop "cold stress," which can be fatal.

An estimated 200 manatees swam into Three Sisters Springs on Tuesday to gather for warmth, as air temperatures mainly stayed in the 50s. The springs, however, maintain a constant temperature of about 72 degrees, according the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In winter months, visitors can watch manatees gather daily at Three Sisters Springs from the boardwalk. Those who wish to swim or snorkel with manatees can only do so from April to mid-November.

For more information on how to see the sea cows in person, click here.

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