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Manatee 'Flash Mob' Closes Down Fla. Springs

Three Sisters Springs flooded with more than 300 manatees from high tides, cold
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2015 1:59 PM CST
Manatee 'Flash Mob' Closes Down Fla. Springs
Manatees crowd together at the Three Sisters Springs at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 7, 2014, near Tampa, Fla.   (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Chris Zuppa)

(Newser) – When the mercury drops and the tides rise, manatees often infiltrate Three Sisters Springs in Florida's Crystal River Wildlife Refuge to rest up and get warm—and there was such an influx this week that the US Fish and Wildlife Service closed the springs down to swimmers, snorkelers, and kayakers, WTSP reports. More than 300 of the aquatic creatures started flooding the waters around noon yesterday in what some on social media called a manatee "flash mob."

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The number of manatees seeking safe harbor in Three Sisters has jumped dramatically over the past three years, from an average of 65 on a cold day to as many as 528, which swarmed the springs on Jan. 25, the station notes. While there's no word yet on when the USFW will reopen the springs, a cold front that had been expected to hit certain areas last night may further the delay. (Read more manatees stories.)

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