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Hundreds of Manatees Clog Florida Wildlife Spring

A wildlife refuge for manatees has closed for human visitors with the unexpected addition of hundreds of manatees seeking a haven from colder waters.

Anyone hoping to swim with the manatees in Florida may have to wait a bit, as the manatees have taken up all the room for swimming.

Three Sisters Springs, a manatee refuge in Citrus County, about 65 miles north of Tampa on Florida's Gulf Coast, has been closed to the public because so many of the mammals are seeking shelter in warmer waters. It is estimated that as many as 400 manatees are resting in the spring named Idiot's Delight.

It is a popular spot for swimmers and kayakers, according to the refuge's website. The refuge also has a boardwalk area that is not affected by the closing.

However, swimming with the manatees is not an option for the foreseeable future.

While a large number of the manatees are in Three Sisters, it is estimated that there are more than 1,000 manatees in the Kings Bay/Crystal River/Homosassa River complex, of which Three Sisters Springs is a part, according to a statement from the Citrus County Visitors and Convention Bureau.