Dolphins splashing in the Pass. Pelicans fighting for scraps from the local fishermen. Seagulls swooping down for an easy bite of ice cream. Seaside wildlife catches the attention of most of the visitors to John’s Pass Boardwalk, but one creature steals the hearts of those that get up close to hang out for a chat: Manatees. During the winter months, manatees head for warm waters, such as springs and power plant discharge basins. For the remainder of the year, manatees are widely dispersed in Florida’s waterways, including John’s Pass. Look for them near Don’s Dock, all the way to the Hut along the boardwalk. Some quick facts on one of my favorite animals: Feed on sea grass, mangrove leaves, and algae. Eat 10% of their weight per day Weigh up to 1,200 pounds Nap frequently and bob up and down in the water – cute! They quickly learn water up the nose sucks, so they roll over on their back if they find a natural occuring garden hose with fresh water – super cute! Their closest relative is a Dugongs [from Indian Ocean] Their closest cousin is an elephant Have the lowest body size to brain ratio of any animal – they’re not real smart! They swim 3 to 5 miles per hour – not fast enough to move out of the way of a boat, so please be careful and watch-out for these awesome babies! Check out Florida Fish and Wildlife conservation for more information here:
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