People aren’t the only ones in Florida who don’t like cold weather. Manatees – those giant aquatic mammals with the flat, paddle-shaped tails – are swimming out of the chilly Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters and into warmer springs and power plant discharge canals. They think of these power plant waters as big warm bath tubs. Thanks Craig S. for sharing this link on facebook.

Cold weather can weaken manatees’ immune systems and eventually kill them. State officials said 2010 has been a deadly year for the beloved animal: between Jan. 1 and Dec. 17, 246 manatees died from so-called “cold stress.” During the same time period in 2009, only 55 manatees died from the cold. In 2008, only 22 manatees succumbed to chilly temperatures.

The power plant is located on 21 acres southwest of the Palm Beach Inlet and Peanut Island and across the Intracoastal Waterway from Palm Beach.

Riviera Beach Manatee Webcam


The herbivores will brave the cold temperatures to forage for sea grass but will sometimes stay in the warm canal without eating for days.

Adult manatees can weigh up to 1,200 pounds and grow to be 10 feet long. During the warmer months, manatees leave Florida and can be found as far west as Texas and as far north as Massachusetts – although sightings along the Gulf Coast and near the Carolinas are also common.