Manatees, usually known as Florida manatees, are scientifically known as as trichechus manatus.
Manatees are aquatic mammals, very large in size and grey in color. Manatees even have a tail which is of paddle type in form. They have two forelimbs, referred to as flippers with nails on them. The manatees are similar to an elephant. The evolution of manatees is believed to be from wading. The size of an adult manatee is around 10 feet. They weigh around 1300 pounds. Manatees move extremely slowly and they spend their time eating. They love to travel and rest. Manatees have a really very shy kind of nature. Being able to see up to thirty five meters, they also have good hearing sense due to large ear bones. Manatees can hear vast range of frequencies.
Manatees are normally found in slow rivers, water bays, estuaries canals, coastal areas, significantly wherever seaweed beds or fresh vegetation flourish. Manatees can live inside freshwater as well as saltwater. Swimming speeds of manatees up to 20mph are recorded; however they like to cruise at speeds approx 2-6 mph. They usually come to surface to breathe through their nostrils after every 3 to 5 minutes. When they feel energetic, they could come to surface for air as usually as each thirty seconds. They keep submerged for up to 15-20 minutes.
Manatees create sounds that seem like chirps. These sounds look similar to whistles and squeaks. Most communication seems to be between mothers and calves. The manatees have six cervical vertebrae whereas all other mammals in the world have seven cervical vertebrae. The sirenian mammal cannot flip its head sideways; therefore it is able to flip its whole body around. A manatee’s age can be determined by the annual growth of the rings in its ear bones.
Water conducts heat far from the body of a manatee up to twenty five times quicker than will air. They don’t have eyelashes and can move one face of its lip pads independently of the opposite facet. Manatees typically groan after they stretch.
Manatees are herbivorous. They eat aquatic plants and require around 10% of food of their weight. The reproduction rate of the manatees is extremely low. At the time of birth calf is approximately three to four feet in length. The mother teaches the calf to swim and surface for breathing. The weight of the calf at birth is around 60 pounds. Within few hours of birth the calf can suckle under the water. Having a life span of 60 years, manatees become sexually mature once they achieve the age of 5 years.