West Indian Manatee

By K.T.

Description

  • aquatic mammal
  • thick grey skin with coarse hairs/bristles
  • large tail, and two front flippers
  • communicate with squeals and screams; 1-18 KHz range (Marine Mammalogy para. 5)
  • communication mostly between females and calves
  • average adult; 800-1200 lbs., 10 ft. long (save manatee para.1)
  • consume 60-100 lbs. of vegetation every day (Nature Works para. diet)
  • top speed: 20 mph. (save manatee para. 3)

Food Chain and Habitat

  • herbivore
  • aquatic plants; food found in water
  • eats seagrass, turtle grass, mangrove leaves, salt marsh leaves
  • not a predator; has no natural enemies
  • found in rivers and along the coasts of..,

Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Northern South America

  • terrain: ocean and rivers
  • climate: warm/tropical
  • home: water

Adaptation

  • large paddle-like tail for propulsion
  • two flippers used for sculling
  • dense bones used to help them sink or go down
  • large upper lip to help gather and eat food
  • molars in cheeks are continually replaced after they are worn down
  • usually swim at 3-5 mph. (Save The Manatee para. 3)
  • migratory: travel south to warmer waters in the winter

Reasons For Endangerment

  • mostly human related causes
  • collisions with boats
  • consumption of litter
  • getting trapped/drowned in fishing lines, canal locks, and nets
  • protected by Marine mammal Protection act of 1972
  • illegal to capture, kill, hunt or harass manatees
  • Manatees are gentle, kind creatures and should not be harmed
  • they do not harm humans or other species in any ways