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Manatees

 

What makes this gentle giant so amazing?

Despite their massive size and stubbly snout, manatees seem cute and cuddly to many ocean visitors.

Watch the videos below to see what makes manatees one of our favorite aquatic mammals.

 

Did You Know?

The Ultimate Vegetarians

Munching on sea grass, mangrove leaves and algae, manatees are the ultimate herbivore. They eat about 10 percent of their body weight in plant mass every day. With weights ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds, that’s a lot of salad!

It’s All Relative

Manatees are distant relatives to elephants. Shocked? Both manatees and elephants have a trunk, tough skin, bristle-like hair covering their bodies, teeth that are continually replaced and “finger” nails on their flippers. Who would have guessed!

Oh, Baby!

Manatee calves are born underwater and tip the scales at 60-70 pounds. Momma manatee helps the calf get to the water’s surface for air and within their first hour of life, the calf can swim on its own.

Deep Breath

Manatees can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes, but typically surface every three to five minutes for air. When they do take a breath, 90 percent of the air in their lungs is replaced vs. only 10 percent for humans.

Size Doesn’t Matter

The ratio of a manatee’s brain to its body size is the lowest of any mammal. Yet manatees can learn basic tasks, are extremely sensitive to touch and can differentiate colors.

Flip Flop

The powerful front flippers of a manatee help them navigate through shallow water. Their flippers and powerful, flat tail steer them through rolls and somersaults. They can also swim both vertically and upside down.