TAMPA (FOX 13) - While Floridians endure a week-long cold snap, state officials are monitoring the fish and wildlife species.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says every few years, Florida is blasted with cold weather and water temperatures drop. As a result, the body temperatures for sea turtles drop as well, and stuns them.
The stunned sea turtles may float lethargically in the water or near a shore. They may appear to be dead, but they are often still alive. Nearly 100 turtles have been rescued so far.
They were taken to the Gulf World Marine Institute in Panama City, where they were placed in warm water, checked over, and will be released back into the Gulf of Mexico when temperatures rise.
When it comes to manatees, they gather in warmer waters, such as discharge canals at power plants, like at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, and natural springs, like the Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River.
During these times, FWC requests boaters to be observant and look out for manatees in shallow waters near the coast and obey all manatee speed zone signs.
“Aggregated animals should not be disturbed, as this could cause them to leave the warm-water sites that help them cope with cold temperatures,” said Gil McRae, head of FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
FWC advises the public to alert officials if you spot distressed wildlife by calling the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.