Trichechus manatus latirostris
Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park
Dec. 13, 2009
This manatee, named "Lorelei", is a year-round resident of the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. One of the park volunteers pitched carrots into the water to attract her and others. I was surprised to hear that she had been scrubbed by park staff to remove the algae growing on her skin, since she doesn't go into the salt water.
The early sailors who thought these huge, gray mammals were mermaids had been at sea WAAAY too long! ;) These gentle animals are herbivores, they normally eat sea grass. Manatees cannot tolerate water temperatures below 68 degrees F, so they move into the rivers in the winter.