Dangerous animals in Flordia water.

Jan 31, 2013
Middle of the Florida paddling paradise
We went out for a three hour tour early (translate to just before the crack of dawn) Sunday before church. Had to beat the Florida heat. Launched at the little sand boat ramp just down the sand road from Blue Springs state park. Wife decided she wanted to go up the short springs run. We made it safely up and down the springs run in about 45 minutes. Back on the St. Johns river saw numerous alligators. They did not bother us. Then two does with fawns. Headed up stream (south) to the southern most old logging canal to look at the bird houses. Some people put out little bird houses for wrens. They decorate them colorfully and date them. So you go down this canal that is completely covered by trees and look at the bird houses. Then my wife screamed. I mean right out of a horror movie screamed. She immediately did a cross draw away from the manatee. A manatee had breached right in front of us. The last time we had a run in with a curious manatee it tried to over turn us just to see what we were. We ended up with a couple inches of water in the canoe.

Manatees will "attack" a canoe or kayak just to see what you are even if you do nothing to attract them. Gators will leave you alone. Now I have read on Dave's Yak Tales he also had a recent run in with out doing any thing to attract them. This is a quote from Dave's blog "I do not have pictures of the best part of my 30 minute manatee meeting. One back floating, under the kayak, rolling over, and gently carrying me on its back. I did nothing to attract, or encourage the behavior, just went along for the ride."

So gators will leave you alone. Deer will run away. Turtles will just plop of their logs. Manatees will attack with out you doing anything. :mad: They are not cuddly cute little creatures. :p Well they are but they are also curious and likely to dump you. You have been warned.
Sep 2, 2011
Raymond, ME
I got to pat one on Weeki Wachee.. I can understand that it could upend my boat just by rising under it.

But the teeth aren't the same! I am not about to get confused with a grass or water vegetable. Um.. I have gotten too close to a gator and it fled( this was unintentional on a blind corner on a narrow waterway).. gators flee to the water. In this case it was toward me and it swam right toward me, in full flight.. just as it was going to hit the canoe it dove and the stern rose a bit. I think my feeling was a little more panicky than it would be in manatee areas.

Now how bout manatee behavior when there is a baby..Do they get more aggressive? I didn't see that in the mama-baby couples I saw but maybe have not seen enough.