Size: Head and body, 32 to 40 in (80 to 100 cm); Tail, 4 to 8 in (10 to 20 cm)
Weight: 22 to 44 lbs (10 to 20 kg)
Protection status: Threatened
What does a manatee look like?
Manatees are sometimes called sea cows, and their languid pace lends merit to the comparison. However, despite their massive bulk, they are graceful swimmers in coastal waters and rivers. Powering themselves with their strong tails, manatees typically glide along at 5 miles (8 kilometers) an hour but can swim 15 miles (24 kilometers) an hour in short bursts.
Where do manatees live?
It is restricted to tropical and subtropical waters because it has an unusually low metabolic rate for a large mammal and rapidly loses body heat to the surrounding water. There are three species of manatee, distinguished primarily by where they live. One manatee population ranges along the North American east coast from Florida to Brazil. Other species inhabit the Amazon River and the west coast and rivers of Africa.
What does a manatee eat?
The manatee, often called the sea cow, is the only exclusively herbivorous marine mammal. It grazes on all kinds of aquatic plants, especially marine sea grasses, assisted by its large prehensile lips, which are studded with bristles.
Can a manatee swim?
During the day, the manatee is frequently found close to the surface, sleeping within the top 3 to 10 feet. Occasionally it swims down to 30 feet, propelling itself along with the aid of its large flat tail, which it also uses as a rudder. When feeding, which it usually does at night, the manatee walks along the bottom using its forelimbs.
Did you know this about manatees?
Manatees feed six to eight hours a day, consuming the equivalent of about 5 percent of their body weight.
There are three definite manatee species: the West Indian manatee, West African manatee and Amazonian manatee. A fourth species, the so-called dwarf manatee of Brazil, is under dispute.
Download free Manatee wallpapers, click on the image to open the large version.
Manatee wallpaper 1
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Manatee wallpaper 3
Manatee wallpaper 4
Manatee Coloring pages
Print free Manatee coloring pages, click on the image to open the large version.