28 Fascinating Manatee Facts

Manatees are some of the gentlest sea creatures you’ll ever meet. They also lead interesting lives. That and so much more are revealed today!

You and your kid will learn many amazing, fun and interesting facts about manatees:

  1. This sea creature has been called a “sea cow” for a long time now. The manatee has also been called a “mermaid” in myths or the “teddy bear of the sea”. But why are they compared to cows? It’s mainly due to their slow way of moving around in water;
  2. There aren’t many manatee species. To be precise, only 3 exist. One of them can be seen in West Africa. Other manatees live here: West India and the Amazon region (along the North American east coast, from Florida to Brazil). The names they have according to these habitats: West African manatee, West Indian manatee and Amazonian manatee;
  3. Rivers, shallow coastal waters, fresh-salty water, and warm waters are their preferred places to live and feed in;
  4. Another interesting fact: an adult manatee weighs 1,200 pounds (544 kilograms). It can reach this size: 13 feet (almost 4 meters). The tail of a manatee has the shape of a paddle. It’s very strong and helps the animal swim;manatee
  5. Even if they weigh this much, manatees’ bodies mostly contain these: intestines and the stomach;
  6. Their forelimbs are known as flippers. These make it easy for a manatee to crawl through really shallow water; flippers can also help the animal steer;
  7. A manatee’s snout is covered in whiskers. Both the head and face have wrinkles on them. The color of a manatee’s body is grayish-brown. Many adult manatees have algae growing on their bodies. Manatees don’t have outer ears. But they do have eyes, which are smaller than other sea creatures’. Despite this, their sight is good. Same goes for their hearing;
  8. Manatees love eating plants. That’s because these sea animals are herbivores. They’re particularly fond of sea grass; the latter grows on the ocean floor. It’s very easy to reach it; a manatee has some really solid bones which help a lot when it’s feeding time;
  9. It takes less than 1 hour for a manatee to consume 1 tenth of its weight in food;
  10. the manatee looks really slow. Truth of the matter is, this sea cow can move at 5 miles (8 kilometers) an hour. Swimming is done at a rate of 15 miles (which means 24 kilometers) an hour;
  11. There are about 5,000 Florida manatees. They’re known to migrate to either the Carolinas, Louisiana or Massachusetts if the weather’s cold;
  12. Female manatees give birth underwater. The offspring is called a “calf”. The female manatee has a gestation period of 1 year;
  13. When the calf is born, it measures approximately 3-4 feet (91-122 centimeters). Baby manatees weigh 60-70 pounds (27-32 kilograms). Their mothers have to nudge them to the surface. If they don’t, the offspring will drown. After 1 hour, the calf is able to swim without its mom’s help. Since the manatee is a mammal, its baby will drink milk for a while;manatee-and-baby
  14. 1-2 years are needed until the calf becomes an adult and separates from its mother;
  15. Reproduction time is when the manatee reaches 5 years old;
  16. Manatees are both social (they like to hang around in small groups or in pairs) and solitary. The groups are usually made of 6 or fewer individuals;
  17. The manatee is a very playful creature. It loves to play by body rolling; this animal also enjoys barrel rolling;
  18. The manatees will come out for air every 3-4 minutes. In fact they can stay underwater for almost 15 minutes. Their nostrils and nose are the only things you’ll notice when looking for a manatee;
  19. To communicate, a manatee squeals. This can mean a lot of things: excitement, fear and so on;
  20. Because manatees move slowly underwater, they can become victims to motorboats. Fishing nets are also dangerous for them;
  21. The manatee is protected by law. The West Indian species is protected by the following: the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. The West Indian manatee is protected by these laws: the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Even so, its bones, oil, and hides are sought after by hunters;
  22. The manatee has a distant relative you’d never have thought about: the elephant. These mammals share the following: toe nails, trunks, teeth that are replaceable, body covered in bristle hair, and tough skin;
  23. The algae on a manatee’s body provides protection against the sun’s dangerous rays;
  24. The manatee has 5 vertebrae;
  25. Manatees are able to tell colors apart. Their skin is also very sensitive to touch;
  26. 90% of the air in a manatee’s lungs is recovered; we replace 10%;
  27. Christopher Columbus saw many manatees during his expeditions;
  28. Water that has 60 degrees Fahrenheit (and over) is great for manatees. Their bodies don’t have a lot of fat to protect them against cold water; and their metabolic rate is low.

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