Known as “sea cows,” manatees are a protected species of mammals that live in warm waters. Related to the elephant, they come with some surprising data:
Manatees are large ocean mammals, averaging 10 feet in length and a weight of 1,200 pounds.
There are three manatee species worldwide – West Indian, West African, and Amazonian.
The two major threats to manatees are loss of habitat and collisions with boats and ships.
Ocean temperatures below 68 degrees can kill manatees.
Manatees spend eight hours per day feeding.
They eat about 10% to 15% of their body weight each day.
Manatees can hold their breath underwater for up to 20 minutes.
On average, manatees surface every three to five minutes to breathe.
Manatees swim along at an average speed of 3–5 miles per hour.
The intestines of these non-carnivorous mammals can be up to 150 feet long.
Manatees are one of the only animals that continuously replace their teeth throughout their lives. They have four sets of six to eight molars. When front molars wear down, they fall out and the molars behind them move into place.
— Source: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration