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20 Interesting Manatee Facts

by Sankalan Baidya
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Large marine mammals with a lolling nature and a propensity to be eaten by other marine predators, the Manatees are famed by the name of ‘sea cows’. They are slow movers, big time and voracious eaters and are pretty curious by nature. Let us today learn about these adorable teddy bear type creatures in details and find out 20 interesting manatee facts.

20 Interesting Manatee Facts

Interesting manatee facts: 1-10

1. Manatees are large marine mammals with weird egg-shaped heads, flat tails and flippers. Now flippers are their forearms.

2. Manatees have close relatives on land! Guess which land mammal can it be? Hell yes, ELEPHANTS are their closest land mammals.

3. Manatees are slow creatures and usually swim at a speed of 5 miles an hour but when they are threatened by predators; they can pick up speed of up to 15 miles an hour in short bursts, thanks to their really strong tails.

4. They are cuddly looking creatures but grow big, really big. They can grow up to 13 feet long but usually they are 8 feet in length. Given their size and their large stature, it is not a surprise that they weigh anywhere between 200 and 590 kilograms!

5. There are three different manatee species that are currently found in entire world. They are: (a) West Indian manatee, (b) Amazonian manatee and (c) African manatee. The West Indian manatee is also often called by the name American manatee. All species are today considered to be endangered species.

6. Manatees are usually found in seas and oceans but they are also river-dwelling creatures as in the case of Amazonian manatee. They usually stay close to the coast.

7. Manatees are not territorial by nature and hence, there is no such thing called group leader. They prefer to stay alone or are sometimes caught swimming in pairs. This habit of manatees however never warrants that they will not be seen in groups. They are sometimes found in groups that are referred to as aggregation.

8. An aggregation is usually an informal meeting where they usually enjoy a large supply of food and enjoy a warm area. An aggregation may also be a mating herd.

9. Manatees are voracious eaters and they are herbivores. They usually munch on sea grass but when in river, they satisfy their appetite with freshwater vegetation.

10. National Geographic reports that in 24 hours manatees can eat up about 1/10th of their body weight which stands up to around 59 kilos!

Interesting manatee facts: 11-20

20 Interesting Manatee Facts

11. Manatees are marine mammals which means that they need to come to water surface to breathe. They however never leave water.

12. A resting manatee is capable of staying under water for around 15 minutes. However, when they swim, they need to come to surface every 3-4 minutes to breathe.

13. A female manatee is known as cow and during mating, a cow is usually followed by more than a dozen male manatees that are known as bulls.

14. Once mating is over, the male leaves and never takes part in raising the child. The child is always born underwater. The female manatee remains pregnant for 12 months before giving birth. The food source for the newborn manatees is their mothers’ milk.

15. A newborn manatee baby grows capable enough to swim on its own just after an hour of birth but the mother manatee usually helps the calves to reach the surface so that they can take their first breath.

16. Manatee calves achieve sexual maturity by the age of 5 years and that is when they become capable having their own babies.

17. Manatees have a normal lifespan of 40 years.

18. Scientists believe that the manatees have evolved from 4-legged land mammals that lived some 60 million years ago.

19. Manatees have good eyesight and good hearing. Their eyes are small and they have a special membrane for protecting their eyes. They lack outer ear structures but have large inner ear bones that give them their excellent hearing abilities.

20. Manatees simply cannot turn their heads sideways. This is because unlike the other mammals that have 7 neck vertebrae, manatees only have 6. As a result, they need to turn their whole body in order to look back.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3

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