Desoto Park Canal is a serene and beautiful waterway located in Pinellas County, Florida. It is home to a large number of manatees who seek refuge in the canal’s warm waters during colder months. In this article, we will explore what makes this canal so attractive to manatees and why it is important to protect their natural habitat.
What are Manatees?
Manatees are large, gentle marine mammals that can grow up to 13 feet in length and weigh as much as 1,300 pounds. They are herbivores and feed on a diet of sea grasses and other aquatic vegetation. Manatees are slow swimmers and are often referred to as “sea cows” due to their grazing habits.
The Desoto Park Canal
The Desoto Park Canal is a man-made waterway that was built in the 1960s to provide a protected anchorage for boats during inclement weather. The canal is approximately 1.5 miles long and connects Boca Ciega Bay to the Intracoastal Waterway. Its calm and shallow waters make it a perfect habitat for manatees.
Why Do Manatees Stay in Desoto Park Canal?
Manatees are attracted to the Desoto Park Canal because of its warm waters, which remain at a constant temperature of around 72 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. This makes it an ideal refuge for manatees during colder months, when water temperatures in other parts of the bay and nearby Gulf of Mexico drop significantly.
Manatee Protection Measures
The Desoto Park Canal is designated as a manatee protection area by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This means that certain speed limits and boating regulations are enforced in the area to prevent collisions between manatees and motorboats. It is important to follow these regulations to protect the manatees and their natural habitat.
How to See Manatees in Desoto Park Canal
If you want to see manatees in their natural habitat, Desoto Park Canal is the perfect place to go. Visitors can easily spot manatees from the park’s shoreline or from a boat. However, it is important to keep a safe distance from the manatees and not to disturb their natural behavior.
Desoto Park Canal is a unique and important habitat for manatees. As visitors, it is our responsibility to respect their natural habitat and protect it from harm. By following the regulations and observing the manatees from a safe distance, we can contribute to the conservation efforts and ensure that this beautiful waterway remains a sanctuary for manatees for generations to come.