General

Manatee

posted: 04/29/14
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Manatee
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Allow me to introduce Myself: I'm a Manatee!

Where You'll Most Likely Find Me: Warm waters and shallow rivers in Florida, as far west as Texas and even as far north as Cape Cod, Also, in Africa and Brazil.

What I Like to Eat: Sea grasses and fresh water vegetation. We are the only herbivore marine mammals.

Betcha Didn't Know This About Me: We are the aquatic relative of the elephant.

Who We Are: Giant, slow-moving gray aquatic mammals also known as sea cows. Our short forelimbs are called flippers and our powerful flat tails help us navigate through the waters. We are poised swimmers who travel light, often by ourselves in pairs, or in groups of six or less. We're long creatures measuring about 10 feet long and weighing in at 1,200 pounds. Our days are spent eating and traveling.

Breathe Again: We are mammals, which means like humans, we need the air above the surface to breathe. We don't leave the water, but we have to swim to surface every three to five minutes. While resting, we can stay underwater for about 20 minutes.

Baby Manatees: Our babies (calves) are born underwater. When they first arrive, it's up to their mothers to guide them to the surface just so they can take their first breath. But these babies are quick learners, swimming on their own after only the first hour of their birth. Calves nurse on their mother's milk for food.

Endangered: We're easy targets due to our slow movements for hunters seeking oil and bones. Our numbers have dropped drastically making us endangered species. Man-made laws protect us, but we are still constantly been hunted or even killed by propellers from motor boats, by ingesting fish hooks litter or from getting caught in fishing nets.

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