Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
The name of the animal in science
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
How long the animal lives for
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
The protective layer of the animal
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
|Warm coastal waters and slow-moving rivers|
|Average Litter Size:|
The average number of babies born at once
The food that the animal gains energy from
|Sea Grass, Algae, Flowers|
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Characteristics unique to this animal
|Thick, wrinkled skin and flippers with no nails|
The manatee is a large marine mammal and the manatee is also commonly known as the sea cow. The manatee is found in warmer waters only in the eastern hemisphere around subtropical regions such as Florida and the Caribbean.
The manatee spends most of its time grazing on plants in warm, shallow waters that are seldom deeper than a couple of meters. The manatee is a herbivore and therefore only really feeds on aquatic plants like sea grass and algae but it has been thought that certain species of manatee may eat smaller fish but not necessarily on purpose.
The female manatee generally grows to larger sizes than the male manatee meaning that the female manatee is also heavier than the male manatee. The large size of the manatee makes the manatee one of the biggest mammals in the world, but the manatee obviously has a long way to go before it will be the size of a blue whale!
Manatees inhabit warm, shallow marshlands underwater, where the manatee spends a great deal of its time sleeping. As the manatee is indeed a mammal, manatee do not have gills and therefore cannot breathe underwater so the manatee has to resurface regularly in order to take in air.
Manatees usually breed only once every couple of years, with the manatee gestation period lasting about a year. Manatees only give birth to one manatee calf at a time. Mother manatee then spend 12 to 18 months to weaning the manatee calf.
Manatees can often be seen in large herds, often of more than 20 manatee individuals. This however, is quite rare as the manatee is generally a solitary animal and with the exception of the mother manatee nursing her manatee calf, manatees tend to spend most of their time alone.
The manatee has been linked to mermaids in ancient folklore and the people of West Africa, believed the manatees to be sacred so anyone that killed a manatee was a sinner. The people of South America, would hunt manatees for their meat and then use the bones of the manatee to treat basic ailments.
Despite popular belief, the dugong is not another name for the manatee, or even a type of manatee. The dugong inhabits waters close to Australia and although closely related to the manatee, the two have one obvious difference. The tail of the manatee is broad and flat, but the tail of the dugong is forked and therefore more fish-like in appearance.
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First Published: 5th December 2008, Last Updated: 7th November 2019
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2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
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4. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 05 Dec 2008]
5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
6. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 05 Dec 2008]