The Manatee

Ellie DeBusk


Name: Trichechus Manatu

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Sirenia

Family: Trichechidae
Genus: Trichechus


  • Manatees enjoy warm, costal waters or slow moving rivers.
  • Manatees are found on the coast of the southeastern US, in the West Indies and adjacent parts of South America, in the Amazon and Orinoco drainages of South America, and tropical west Africa.
  • Cannot survive in waters under 60 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Herbivore
  • Aquatic plants
  • Ex. sea grass, algae

Social Interactions

  • Large range in its social interactions
  • Some remain solitary
  • Some stay in small groups of a dozen or less
  • Some manatees group together in numbers as large as 20+
  • Main reason for grouping together is excess amounts of food and warm water in a particular area

more info

  • Existed for over 60 million years
  • Believed to have branched from elephants
  • Originally land animals, had a hard time surviving on land, moved to the water
  • Closely related to the dugong who was believed to adapt around the same time

Manatee Movement

  • Very slow-moving
  • Top speed is 22 kph (13 mph)
  • Use their tail to propel them forward

Size and Weight

  • 6-13 feet
  • 800-3000 pounds


  • Don't have any natural predator
  • In few incidents, sharks and alligators have accidentally killed small manatees/calfs mistaking them for other animals
  • Humans account for 39% of recorded deaths of manatees
  • Incidents often occur from watercraft, locks and canals, and other things such as a discarded fish line
  • In some cultures, hunting manatees is still accepted and encouraged

Fun Facts

  1. Manatees are often referred to as the "sea cow"
  2. They are extremely lazy- manatees are known to sleep about half of each day
  3. The Florida manatee can move from fresh to salt water, while the Amazonian manatee never enters salt water
  4. They love having their bellies rubbed
  5. They are very affectionate animals; they do not only enjoy hugging and kissing other manatees- but humans as well!
  6. They have flipper nails
  7. Female manatees are some of the largest mammals in the world


Sing About the Manatee
Crystal River Manatee Educational Video