West Indian Manatee
Manatees are completely herbivorous. They eat aquatic plants and can consume 10-15% of their body weight daily in vegetation. Manatees feed on about 60 plant species, which include sea grasses as their major food source. They also consume some fish and small invertebrates. Because manatees feed on abrasive plants, their molars are often worn down and are continually replaced throughout life, so are called "marching molars".
Manatees are believed to have evolved from a wading, plant-eating animal. The West Indian manatee is related to the West African manatee and the Amazonian manatee. The average adult manatee is about 3m long and weighs around 450kg. Maximum lengths at 4.5m with weights up to 1,500 kg.
They have two flippers with three to four nails on each, and their head and face are wrinkled with whiskers on the snout. The manatee's closest relative is the elephant and the hyrax.
Manatees are gentle and slow-moving. Most of their time is spent eating, resting, and in travel. They may rest submerged at the bottom or just below the surface, coming up to breathe on the average of every three to five minutes. When manatees are using a great deal of energy, they may surface to breathe as often as every 30 seconds.