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Magical Manatees

4 minutes

(Describer) Titles: USGS – science for a changing world. Magical Manatees: Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.

(Describer) Water temp: 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Air temp: 42 degrees. Crystal River is a cold-water refuge for manatees because of its consistent year-round water temps.

(Describer) A diver with a camera ducks underwater. Title: USGS researchers conduct health check-ups and take photos for population research.

(Describer) In the shallow water, another diver follows a manatee, which is about the same size as the diver.

(Describer) Viewed more closely, another manatee has a round snout pointed downward, short flippers on its sides and rough skin. Its small eyes are far apart.

(Describer) Titles: Care is given to not disturb the resting manatees on the spring bottom.

(Describer) Researchers take photos to update a “who’s who” catalog of the manatee world. A diver photographs a manatee, who has a tail like a round paddle.

(Describer) The one viewed more closely gets even closer, revealing the many short whiskers around its snout.

(Describer) It touches its head to the surface.

(Describer) Then it slowly drifts back down, and swims nearer to the bottom.

(Describer) A diver notes small white marks along a manatee’s dark grey back. Title: There are many visible scars due to boat propellers.

(Describer) One of the manatees resting on the bottom has large blue marks. Title: This manatee has blue paint from the bottom of a boat.

(Describer) A manatee mostly covered with a rough green material slowly catches up to another one, which is light grey. A diver swims alongside, observing them.

(Describer) A bird dives down. Title: A hungry and determined cormorant joins the manatees. A school of small fish swims away from it, but it chases them around some of the manatees.

(Describer) A manatee with a wrinkled face and brown bumps over its front half swims through the water.

(Describer) A resting manatee’s tail is attached to a satellite tag with break-away tether. The tag and its antenna floats on the surface.

(Describer) Another manatee drifts slowly toward the surface. Title: A manatee surfaces for a breath. Viewed from the surface, the top of its snout barely appears before dropping back down.

(Describer) One moves just above the bottom. Title: Cuts on tails are from boat propellers. A chunk is missing from the middle of the end of the tail.

(Describer) Another one moves along the bottom, mostly dark brown but with a lighter area near the back and a few white cuts on top of the tail.

(Describer) One manatee swims over another resting.

(Describer) A manatee turns to a camera, and a couple human fingers wave to it.

(Describer) Funding to purchase and make this educational program accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Contact the Department of Education by telephone at 1-800-USA-LEARN, or online at

Funding to purchase and make this educational production accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education:

PH: 1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB:

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Now Playing As: Captioned (English) (change)

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Scientist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) conduct health check-ups on a group of manatees. The scientists conduct their research at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge to help further their population research on marine life in the Three Sisters Spring.

Media Details

Runtime: 4 minutes

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