Manatees

Sydney Woodward - 4

What are Manatees?

Manatees are known as sea cows. They have sensory hairs used for detecting subtle movements in water. A manatees active touch is equivalent to the sensitivity we as humans have in our index finger. Despite their small eyes and lack of outer ears manatees are thought to see and hear very well. A female will only have one calf every two to five years.


Manatees are herbivores, with a diet consisting mostly of sea grasses and fresh water vegetation. Manatees can be found in warm waters like rivers, bays, and costal waters. Rarely do individuals venture into water below sixty - eight degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists have found that this is true because water has to be at least sixty degrees Fahrenheit in order for manatees to survive.

Florida Manatees

Although there is no precise cencus of Florida manatees, today's population is estimated at approximately 5,000 individuals. Manatees take up residence primarily in Florida's costal waters during winter. Some individuals migrate as far north as the Carolinas or as far west as Louisiana in the summer. Well known for their gentle, slow moving nature, manatees have also been known to body surf or barrel roll when playing. Manatees communicate by squealing under water to demonstrate fear, stress, or excitement.

Calves

Manatee calves are born weighing between sixty and seventy pounds and measuring about three to four feet long. the calves nurse under water.

Amazon Manatees

These manatees can be found in the rivers, swamps, and wetlands of the Amazon river basin. Amazonian manatees are exclusively vegetarian, feeding on water lettuce and hyacinth. In the course of a day,they may eat up to 8% of their body weight. During their fasting period, they rely on their stored fat reserves until food becomes available again. They live in groups of four to eight individuals and are also found alone.
Swimming with Florida manatees