Animal Profile: The Manatee

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Common name: Manatee, also known as a ‘sea cow’

Scientific name: Tricheus

Order: Sirenia

IUCN Red List classification: Threatened

Habitat: Water dwelling, found in the Amazon, Africa and the West Indies

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Lifespan in the wild: 40 years

Appearance: Thick, grey, wrinkled skin. Large bodies of 2.8-3.0 metres in length.

Weight: 400-550 kilograms.

Diet: Herbivore, eats water grasses, weeds, algae. Has a simple stomach, like a horse.

Manatees are often solitary mammals (with the exception of mother and calf). Fifty percent of their day is spent sleeping. When sleeping, the manatee surfaces for air every 15-20 minutes and when swimming, surfaces every 3-4 minutes.

These majestic creatures are mammals and they have a gestation period of 12 months. The weaning period for calves is a further 12-18 months and so the manatee only breeds once every two years or more.

 

Sources:

  • nationalgeographic.com
  • npr.org
  • Wikipedia

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