The Everglades

Manatee

There are three species of the marine mammal, manatee, the West Indian, Amazon, and the African manatee. They live in shallow salt-water and migrate in the Atlantic Ocean during the summer. Family groups or herds of manatees live in rivers and bays along the coast of Florida.

The manatee is shaped like a large gray seal. They have blubber under their thick skin to protect them from the cold. If the water is less than 68 degrees, they are in danger. They are air-breathing mammals, but are not related to whales and dolphins.

They are related to the elephant.

Adult manatees may reach 13 feet long and weigh 1500 pounds. Their skin in wrinkled-looking. They have pudgy faces with small eyes. They can hear very well.

Manatees feed on the vegetation they find in the shallow water of rivers and along coastlines.

Baby manatees are born alive in the water. Calves are about six feet long and weigh 60 to 70 pounds. Their skin is almost black. When the calf is born, the mother pushed it to the surface to breathe. The mother manatee has all the responsibility for the calf.

People once thought, for some strange reason, a long time ago that manatees were mermaids. They are very slow swimmers and are often hit or killed by boat propellers as the watercraft traffic in Florida increases. They are endangered. It is believed that there are only 1200 left in existence. They are very sweet and like to be petted.

The Manatee lives in the mangrove swamp habitat.

Jessica T.

Produced by students and
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 Miami Museum of Science

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