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4 Manatee Facts For Kids

navajocodetalkersadmin on December 6, 2014 - 3:00 pm in Fun Facts for Kids

Manatees are gentle giants that have the unique ability to go from salt water to fresh water. There are four living species of Manatees. They are sometimes called sea cows. They are closely related to land elephants.

These amazing animals have been on the endangered list for a long time. In the US they are found in the warm coastal waters of Florida. They are very adaptable animals that can be found in slow moving rivers, coastal estuaries, bays and canals. Manatees are often hurt by boats, fisherman and other human activities.

1. The Size

Manatees are born weighing about 65 pounds! They grow quickly and can easily tip the scales at 1200 pounds and beyond. They have long barrel shapes bodies thanks to their weight and the fact that they are carrying around quite a bit of gas from all their grazing!

2. Behavior

Manatees are highly intelligent and have shown the ability to retain information for long periods of time. They are largely solitary animals that roam alone with the exception of a calf and its mother. They only have 1 calf about every 3-4 years. The calf remains with the mother until they are 12-18 months and fully weaned.

The Manatees nurse their young from two teets that are located under each flipper. They spend about 50% of the day sleeping and the other 50% grazing for food. The Manatee sleeps in the water and comes up about every 20 minutes or so to take a deep breath of air!

3. What Do They Eat?

Manatees only have about 6 teeth in their giant mouths at any given time. They are herbivores with large upper lips that help them to tear away the sea grass and other underwater plant life that they thrive on. There big barrel shaped bodies are filled with gases that help them to digest all the vegetation that they consume.

They eat about 10% of their weight every day in grasses and other greenery. That is a big amount of greenery when you think about the adult size of some of these animals. It could be as much as 120 pounds a day!

4. Their Body

Manatees like elephants technically have a trunk, they also have toe nails on their flippers! Their skin like the elephants hide is tough and covered with little bristle hairs. Algae grows on Manatees which becomes a symbiotic relationship. The algae protects the Manatee from the suns rays and of course the algae has a place to grow!

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