Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Common name: Manatee, also known as a ‘sea cow’
Scientific name: Tricheus
IUCN Red List classification: Threatened
Habitat: Water dwelling, found in the Amazon, Africa and the West Indies
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.