Information On Manatees


Manatee Information
planet manatee

Manatee; West  Indian

Size: eight to thirteen feet, weight from four hundred and forty to two thousand pounds.

Life span in the wild, forty years.

Early fishermen mistakenly thought the manatee were mermaids. Harmless creatures, manatees seldom fight each other. With no natural enemies, manatees are very calm and sometimes are called sea cows due to their docile and milk cow like nature.


Its hard to tell the three different kinds of manatees one from the other. Their appearance and behavior is very much alike. Preferring warm water, one ranges from Florida to Brazil. Another is found in the Amazon River while the third kind is found off the coast of western Africa.

Being graceful and agile swimmers, manatees travel alone, in pairs, and in groups of three to six. They can reach speeds of 15 miles per hour but generally cruise at around 5 miles per hour. Keeping the flippers at its sides, its tail strokes up and down, propelling the animal forward. The flippers are quite useful, helping it steer, and when in shallow water, the manatee uses its flippers to walk on the bottom.


The calves of the manatee are born underwater. Immediately after birth the mother helps the newborn reach the surface of the water for air. Manatees can stay submerged for  up to fifteen minutes. If active they must come to the surface every five minutes. The calf  weighs between twenty-five and sixty pounds at birth and swimming within one hour.

Manatees feed on plants that grow in the water like water weeds, sea grasses, and algae.In one 24 hour period a manatee can eat as much as one pound of food for every 10 pounds of its body weight.

The Future of the Manatee.

People have hunted the manatee for food and for its oil,  hides, and bones. In the past century, the number of manatees has slowly decreased. As a result, laws have been passed to help protect the animals. But manatees are often harmed by motorboats that travels through the waters where they live. Many have scars on their bodies caused by propeller blades.



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