Hot tubs for manatees

Video: Manatees love the warm water near Duke Energy's Crystal River Energy Complex in Florida

People migrate to Florida in droves to escape frigid winters, and manatees are no different. These lovable, aquatic mammals enjoy a nice soak in the warm waters near the Duke Energy Crystal River Energy Complex about 85 miles north of Tampa.

Manatees vacation from Nov. 15 to April 15, and, this manatee season, as many as 120 huddled in the water discharge canal, a secondary thermal refuge. These refuges are a few degrees warmer than the Gulf of Mexico in winter and keep the manatees warm on their way to Florida's natural, 72-degree springs.

Manatees love Duke Energy for the giant hot tub it provides, and the feeling is mutual. On-site Duke Energy biologists monitor the discharge canal and evaluate the manatees' behavior for signs of distress to ensure a happy, healthy manatee population.

Happy Manatee Appreciation Day (March 30) to one of Florida’s most beloved threatened species!