Manatees Seek Out Warmth amid Fla. Cold Snap

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The cold weather chilling the Southeast is causing a rarely seen sight along Florida's coast. 

The Gulf of Mexico's waters have become so chilly, about 300 manatees have begun migrating close to shore to warm up. 
The majestic sea creatures are especially fond of the heated water flowing out of discharge canals around area's power plants.
While tourists are enjoying the rare sight of nearby manatees lolling around, the threat of cold temperatures is not a laughing matter for the sea mammals.

Getting extremely cold can compromise their immune systems, possibly killing them should they remain exposed to the frigid temperatures too long.

"They're not blubbery mammals. They're very lean mammals," Wendy Anastasiou, an environmental specialist at the power plant's manatee viewing center, told the Associated Press. "They need the warmth. They need a warm place to go."

So far, 246 manatees have died as a result of "cold stress" this year.

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