Record number of manatees visit Blue Spring State Park during Florida cold snap

Officials say 729 manatees gathered at Central Florida park

FILE - A group of manatees are pictured in a canal where discharge from a nearby Florida Power & Light plant warms the water in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Dec. 28, 2010. Wildlife officials said Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, that more than six dozen threatened manatees are currently in rehabilitation centers in Florida and elsewhere amid a chronic starvation problem caused by water pollution. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (Lynne Sladky, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A record number of manatees gathered Tuesday at Blue Spring State Park during Florida’s latest cold snap.

Temperatures in Central Florida dipped into the 30s during the cold stretch, driving the manatees to the warm waters at the spring.

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Park officials said there were 729 manatees counted.

The previous record was set on Jan. 29, 2021, when 721 manatees visited Blue Spring State Park in Volusia County.


The water at Blue Spring State Park is a constant 72, warmer than the nearby St. Johns River.

Hundreds of manatees come to the spring when it’s cold, and as the temperature continues to drop, more manatees are likely to pile in.

If you see a sick, injured, orphaned or dead manatee, call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.