Photos of the Week celebrating Manatees!
November is Manatee Awareness Month! These large aquatic relatives of the elephant spend a lot of time grazing on aquatic plants in shallow, slow moving-water bodies. There are three living species of manatees: the Amazonian manatee, the West African manatee and the West Indian manatee, which includes two subspecies —the Florida manatee and the Antillean manatee. Because of their low metabolic rate and body fat content, manatees cannot tolerate temperatures below 68 degrees F for long periods of time. In summer months, West Indian manatees may range as far west as Texas and as far north as North Carolina, but in the winter manatee populations are concentrated primarily in Florida’s warm water refuge areas.
Aspiring photographer Chris Schenker made this image in Three Sisters Springs, Florida, writing, "The manatees of Crystal River are very playful and accustomed to human spectators, and as such draw photographers from around the world. This one struck a shy pose just as a snorkeler swam into my frame." The Massachusetts resident used a Nikon D7000 with a 10-17mm fisheye zoom lens in Nauticam underwater housing.
Wildlife photographer Karen King writes, "It was a cold winter day in Florida as the Manatees gathered in the warm waters at Blue Spring State Park. The Manatee count broke records this day, as hundreds swam into the spring from the cold water of the St. John's River." The Florida resident used a Nikon D5000 with a 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 lens.
Florida resident and wildlife photographer Elizabeth Baillie took this photo in Ichetucknee Springs State Park using a Nikon AW110. She writes, "As an avid kayaker, I have a passion for the water and outdoors, and especially for photographing manatees with my waterproof camera."
Elizabeth Baillie also made this image of a curious manatee in Ichetucknee Springs, Florida using her Nikon AW110. She writes, "I frequently visit these springs during manatee season. I absolutely love to see them and apparently they are getting quite curious about me. This particular manatee followed me for quite awhile."
Underwater photographer Katy Danca Galli writes, "This past March, in the Chassahowitzka River, I came across the most miraculous sight - three little girls on homemade paddle boards and a baby manatee (with mom close by), rubbing its face on their tiny toes." The Florida resident used a Canon 5D Mark III in underwater housing.
Aspiring nature photographer Madison Simons writes about visiting the nature preserve in Apollo Beach, Florida, "most of the manatees weren't very interested in coming near the viewing platform with the exception of this curious one, who was intrigued by a floating buoy." The South Carolina resident used a Canon 20D with a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 telephoto lens.
These images of manatees were all entered in National Wildlife's 2015 Photo Contest. Share your photos in our 46th annual Photo Contest. Sign up to receive notifications.
Florida Manatees are an Endangered Species! Learn More about these wonderful animals and how to protect them:
See last week's photos: Take a Hike!
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