During Christopher Columbus' first journey to the Americas, he caught a glimpse of three "mermaid" creatures, writing that “they are not so beautiful as they are said to be, for their faces had some masculine traits." Our manatees!
- Manatees can weigh up to 3,500 pounds!
- They can grow over 13 feet long!
- Manatees can hold their breath for 20 minutes!
- Swim with the manatees by clicking the "Book Now" Button!
Manatees are truly “gentle giants”. These large, slow-moving mammals like to hang out in coastal areas and rivers such as Homosassa Springs. Also referred to as “sea cows”, these creatures are known for their size, stubbly snout, and sweet disposition. They are very curious creatures. Although manatees are protected and humans are not permitted to approach manatees, manatees love people. If you swim with the manatees, a manatee might engage with you or even give you a manatee kiss.
Manatees get cold! As the winter approaches, these marine animals swim toward warmer water such as springs. The 72 degrees of Homosassa Springs is warm and cozy to manatees. Manatees can cause a traffic jam with their migration to the springs!
There are three kinds of manatee—the Amazonian manatee, West Indian manatee, and West African manatee. All are considered “vulnerable” because of their dwindling numbers. They are at risk for a variety of threats including boat collisions, hunting, habitat destruction, and toxic red tides.
What do manatees eat?
Manatees nosh on seagrass, mangrove leaves, and algae. These herbivores munch on food for almost half the day, eating ten percent of their body weight in plant mass every day. With weights of up to 3,500 pounds, that is a whole lot of lettuce!
What is a manatee kiss?
When you swim with the manatees, a manatee might come nose to nose with you! They might bump against you because they are filled with curiosity.
What is a manatee hug?
Manatees get cold! As the winter approaches, the warmth of a spring (or a human) is welcomed. They might just lean up against you for your warmth. Because the West Indian manatee is listed as endangered in the United States, harassing such as hugging or riding the sea creature is illegal. We love the manatees! We want to protect them!
How do manatees breathe?
Manatees come to the surface every three to five minutes to take a big breath. Manatees replace 90 percent of the air in their lungs in one breath! By comparison, we humans only replaces 10 percent of our air in one breath. Manatees can hold their breath underwater for up to 20 minutes!
Do manatees sleep?
Manatees enjoy about 12 hours of unihemispheric sleep a day because they have to come to the surface to breathe. You can’t truly sleep underwater when you need to breathe air! This means that half their brain gets to rest while the other half remains alert Manatees suspend themselves upside down close to the surface so they can sleep and breathe at the same time.
Are manatees fat?
Does this make me look fat? Manatees may look fat, but their body is made up of mostly their stomach and intestines. They don’t have much fat so that’s why they migrate to the warm spring-fed waters of Homosassa Springs.
Who are manatees related to?
The closest living relative to the manatee is the elephant!
Do manatees bite?
They don’t bite! Manatees do have teeth. They use their teeth to munch on seagrass. Like their elephant relatives, they continuously lose old teeth in the front of the mouths and replace them with new teeth growing in the back.
Are manatees smart?
Manatees have a pretty small brain in relation to their large bodies, but manatees can learn basic tasks, are extremely sensitive to touch and can differentiate colors.
How can I help the manatees?
If you are a boater, slow down! Their average speed of 3 to 5 miles per hour means that manatees are way too slow to escape from the path of a speeding boat. Everyone can learn about manatees and spread the word about these incredible creatures. There are many foundations and organizations that support rescuing manatees.
When is the best time to see manatees?
Manatee Tours are best during the cooler weather months from November through March. However we do still find Manatees during the warmer months and suggest early morning tours for the best opportunity to see these gentle giants. Call (352) 322-3722 for a free Manatee report!
Can I swim with the manatees?
Swimming with the Manatees is definitely an experience of a lifetime and the only way to describe the Homosassa River and Blue Heaven River Tours is simply Manatee Magic! We welcome all ages and whether you want to get in the water or just want to enjoy the beautiful Homosassa River from the boat, it will definitely be a day you will always remember!
What boat should I choose?
Some of the most common comments about are Manatee Tours is how nice it is to be able to choose from all our great boats! Our 30 Foot Shaded Deluxe Heated Pontoon (Blue-By-U) with an on-board restroom is like a party on the patio! This boat has a great swim ladder that makes it easy to climb aboard! Our 20 Foot New Deluxe Pontoon (Backwater Blue) is also the perfect boat for couples or groups up to 6 and can go under the bridges for that cool Backwater Manatee, or Fun in the Sun Adventure! Then of course our Adventure Craft Luxury Cabin Yacht with an on-board restroom is the perfect boat to be able to stay warm when it is cold for our Winter Manatee Tours yet enjoy the outside seating and upstairs Flybridge when it warms up and is our #1'sought after boat! All our Boats are the perfect way to enjoy Social Distancing on the water! Our boats are so close the Springs and the Homosassa Nature Park which means you spend a lot less time getting ready and traveling and a lot more time enjoying your Snorkel Adventure! Our 30 Foot Deluxe Shaded Pontoon Boat (Blue-By-U_ and our 20 foot Pontoon (Backwater Blue) has easy docking and is close to Monkey Island as well as so many of the wonderful restaurants that make it easy to catch bite to eat after a fun day on the water! When you arrive we will do everything we can to make your adventure the best you have ever had. We can take you from the Blue Water of the Springs all the way past Monkey Island and as far as the Gulf to see all the beautiful sights of the Homosassa River, the Estuary and Beyond!
Will I get seasick?
Our boat tours take place on the quiet Homosassa River and Springs. There is a low probability of waves and this reduces the chance for a queasy stomach. Much of the river and springs is a no wake zone meaning boats are required to move slowly. No wake zone reduce the movement in boats and help prevent seasickness. Our boats have a smooth ride! We use boats with a low propensity for movement. It's rare that a guest experiences seasickness. If you tend to get seasick, you may consider a seasick remedy before boarding.
What equipment do I need to swim with the manatees?
All equipment is furnished, including mask, snorkels, lifevests, and wet suits for our Manatee Tours.
Where is the best place to see manatees?
Homosassa river is made up of one main spring and many hidden springs that keep the water temperature around 72 degrees to not only attract the Manatees but make it comfortable even in those colder winter months. The beautiful Estuary that leads out to the Gulf is simply breathtaking and once you get out to the Scallop grounds of the Gulf the only way to describe it is Paradise! We look forward to having you aboard to what so many say can be a life-changing experience. Swimming with these gentle giants is an experience for both young and old that will have you telling all your family and friends about and Scalloping is an adventure for the family that is like no other!
Will a wetsuit fit me?
Yes! Wetsuits are optional but suggested during the cooler months. Wetsuits keep you warm and make you float. Wetsuits are available from the smallest toddler sizes to adult 5XL. Wear a swimsuit under loose fitting clothes and change into your wetsuit by pulling it on over your swimsuit.
When should I book my manatee tour?
Our Manatee tours start to fill up quickly and we recommend advance reservations! We offer three great boats with all the equipment you need including wetsuits, swim noodles, masks, snorkels and great pictures upon request for the perfect Manatee Adventure. Pick the perfect boat for your budget that is tailormade for the amount of people in your party!
Will I see a manatee?
Remember that Manatees are attracted to the Springs in cool weather. Please keep your expectations realistic as although we are in charge of the fun, Mother Nature is in charge of the Manatees! Peak Season for Manatee Tours runs from November 15th through April !5th! Spring and Summer Tours are available and we recommend earlier morning tours and ask that all guests keep their expectations realistic! Spring and Summer tours are definitely beautiful, however even though we have a reputation for finding Manatees when others may not we like to be upfront and let all our guests know that it is a 50% chance of seeing Manatees during the late Spring and Summer off Season! However, if you have the attitude of gratitude and love looking for fish, turtles, gorgeous homes, Monkey Island and look at the opportunity to possibly see Manatees or Dolphins along with all the beautiful birdlife then this is a great tour. However, if you want to up your chances of seeing Manatees to about 98% then we recommend booking your tour during the peak cooler weather months!