Crystal River Manatee FAQ
Welcome to the Twin Rivers Marina Manatee FAQs! We recognize that our Crystal River manatees are a very special reason that many visit Crystal River each year and we wanted to help you discover more about these loveable creatures!
Looking to find out about manners while swimming with the manatees, boating with the manatees, paddling with the manatees, or photography with the manatees? Check out the informational videos below from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Meet the Florida Manatee!
Yes! Florida manatees are one of 2 subspecies of the West Indian Manatee. The other is the Antillean manatee that ranges between Mexico and Brazil.
During the cooler months, Florida manatees make their way to Crystal Springs and other warm water locales to stay warm. Although many Crystal River manatees stay here, the warmer months find the manatees migrating northward along the Eastern seaboard towards Georgia and South Carolina or heading into the Gulf of Mexico into Alabama, Texas, and even down to Cuba!
Manatees have gained the nickname “sea cows” because their primary diet is plants and they can eat up to 10x their body weight in sea grasses in a single day!
Many a sailor claimed to see a mermaid that turned out to be a manatee… Christopher Columbus was quoted as saying that they were “not so beautiful as they are said to be, for their faces had some masculine traits.”
Swimming manatees are usually swimming at about 5 mph. Occasionally, a manatee may get up to 15 mph for a very short time.
Manatees and alligators can often be found in sunny spots on the shoreline enjoying rays together. Manatee attacks are pretty rare as alligators like to eat things they can eat all at once and a manatee is a bit too big and too fast.
Yes! Crystal River Florida is one of the few places where you can swim with manatees!
No, manatees must come to the surface every 5 minutes or so to get air. While resting a manatee can stay submerged for almos
A good time to see manatees in Florida is usually from November to April. If you are lucky enough to visit between December and February you can see the largest numbers of manatees. Keep in mind that as temperatures rise, the manatees begin to travel to other locales as well.
Manatees are herbivores that can spend up to 8 hours a day doing what a “sea cow” does best… grazing on seagrasses!
Occasionally, some manatees can be seen eating clams and other sea life but for the most part, they eat aquatic plants (like seagrasses).
The Florida Manatee has been reclassified as a threatened species because of habitat improvements and population growth. The biggest threats to manatees now are boat collisions, getting tangled in fishing gear, habitat degradation, etc.
Manatees are morning creatures and are the most active between 6:00 AM and 8:30 AM.
Manatees have no real predators so they have no reason not to be.
Manatees are protected and as such, if you are caught touching manatees it is actually a federal offense. BUT! In Crystal River things are a little different: under supervision, you can get out and interact and swim with the manatees! It is also important to note that any contact MUST be initiated by the manatee. Of course, it is always best to simply swim and admire manatees from a distance for their own safety.
You can find the manatees between November through March, and specifically, early mornings, are usually the best times to see manatees at their most playful.
Manatees are pregnant for about 11 months.
Twin Rivers Marina has several rental boats available for full or half day rental that will allow you to get up-close and personal to swim with the manatees. Rent a boat now!