23. May, 2016

The Florida Sirens

The official name of  the Florida Manatee is Trichechus manatus latirostrus.  The place that has played an important role to introduce  this  wonderful mammal to the public is Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida (see picture).* Here the warm water springs provide a refuge for manatees  that migrate from the sea to the springs.  People  interested in their behavior are allowed to make pictures while snorkeling, but then need a permit from the manatee centre.  Manatees are vulnerable slow moving creatures, easily disturbed  by (too many) visitors or even hurt by motor boats.

Manatees are mammals that belong to the order of Sirenea. Which is derived from mermaids. It seems that Columbus  when he spotted manatees along the coastline of America  believed that what he saw were the legendary  mermaids.  It is said that the manatee is closely related to the elephant, with which they  share a common ancestor. There are  definitely some striking resemblances: the  manatee is a vegetarian equipped with flexible muscular lips for ripping of vegetation like the elephants trunk. It has molar teeth that move forward in the mouth. A grey skin covered with sparse hairs, finger nails like the elephant toenails and a spherical  shaped heart.

With no doubt the great expert and ‘mother’ of manatees is Carol Grant from Florida, who spends much of her time  with these lovable creatures. In her own words: ‘ I have succumbed to the charms of the Florida Sirens’.  And to take you to manatees you should depend op captain Stacey Dunn. See for more:

https://www.facebook.com/oceangrantimages

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Crystal_River/Three_Sisters_Springs_Manatee_Information.html

*There is now also the Manatee Lagoon at Palm Beach County were numerous manatees  huddle in the warm-water outflows of Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Manatee-Lagoon/1690469727906814