Manatees are gentle, slow moving mammals that are beloved by all that see them. Known as the ‘sea cow’ they are often grazing in and around the warmer waters, eating tasty vegetables and plants.
Interesting facts about manatees:
The body of the manatee is described as ‘egg-shaped’ and they have large wide tails that are very strong.
- The closest relative of the manatee is actually the elephant.
- There are three species of manatee: The American manatee, the West Indian manatee and the Amazonian manatee.
- Manatees that live in the warmer waters along the gulf coast region of Florida are often seen in the inter-coastal areas looking for food.
Winter can cause the waters to be cold and manatees will search for areas that have the warmest water, even if it means traveling close to electric plants that produce warm fresh water as a byproduct.
- Manatees seem slow and graceful, but they can actually swim quite quickly when necessary.
- Manatees are not territorial and will often swim in groups. They are not aggressive but are actually a bit shy unless they have been around humans.
- The size of a manatee can range from eight to thirteen feet (2.4-4 meters) and it can weigh from 440-1,300 lbs. (200-590 kg).
Manatees prefer the fresh grasses along the coasts and are often found in groups grazing in the same way you would see cows eat.
- A female manatee has a pregnancy that last twelve months and the baby is born under water. The female is called a ‘cow’ and the baby is called a ‘calf’.
- Manatees that live in areas where there is boating are often injured by the propellers. Due to this fact, many areas have placed boating restrictions in areas where manatee habitation is known.
The oldest manatee in captivity is “Snooty”. He lives at the Parker Manatee Aquarium in Bradenton, Florida. He was born July 21, 1948 and that makes him over 65 years old. He is part of the program in the area that helps injured and abandoned manatees recuperate and get returned to the wild. As the ‘mascot’ for manatees, Snooty is the ambassador around the world, helping students learn about manatees.