The manatee count at Blue Spring State Park on January 5th, 2018 was 453 according to Wayne Hartley, Manatee Specialist. Wayne said he believes this count was the “highest” he has ever recorded!
Greetings! I know January has the coldest weather in Florida and in this New Year; it’s sure living up to it! 453 of us manatees huddled together in the warm 72 degree Fahrenheit water at Blue Spring State Park; Tallahassee had measureable snowfall on January 3rd 2018 for the first time in nearly 30 years. And if that wasn’t crazy enough record breaking news for you, there were frozen iguanas falling out of trees as they became paralyzed from the unusually cold central and northern Florida temperatures!
As you probably already know, manatees are warm-blooded and we need water temperatures of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit to survive or we could die from cold stress. Well, the St. Johns River adjacent to Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida was a very chilly 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Needless to say, hundreds of us manatees took shelter in Blue Spring as we took advantage of the spring’s year-round balmy 72 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures!
And adding to Florida’s frozen fury were iguanas becoming paralyzed from the unusually cold temperatures. The recent cold snap stunned the colorful lizards, resulting in them falling from trees. These cold-blooded animals “are known to enter a sleeplike state in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.” And according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samuhel, in Florida this past week, “the mercury has plummeted into the 40s on a couple of occasions, with the lowest recording hitting 44 F just before dawn on Thursday, January 4, 2018. It’s an impressively cold stretch,” she said. Animal experts warn those who come across stunned iguanas “to be cautious. Though they may not be moving, most will still be alive and can bite. They should generally be left alone when found, as they will slowly regain mobility in the daytime sunshine.”
And just another reminder for you, my author, Robert Scott Thayer will be doing a book signing from his award-winning Kobee Manatee Children’s Educational series at the Manatee Festival in Blue Spring State Park on Saturday, January 27th and Sunday, January 28th!
To get the latest manatee count at Blue Spring State Park, please call the park at: 386-775-3663.
If you see any sick or injured manatees, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee