Manatees are an amazing creature that we as a culture have come together and love as the sea cows of our waterways. Below are 12 facts that make them even more wonderful:
1.Manatees can be fund in the warm waters of shallow rivers, bays, estuaries, and coastal waters. They take up residents off the coast of Florida during the winter months and do not usually like to hang out in water that is below 68-degrees Fahrenheit.
2.Usually seen as a placid slow-moving creature, a manatee can swim for a short burst at speeds of 15-20 mph with the help of their powerful tail. However, they usually move at a comfortable pace of 5 mph.
3.As the ocean’s largest herbivores, manatees can weigh up to 1,300 pounds and can eat up to a tenth of their weight in just 24 hours! They feed mainly on sea grasses and freshwater vegetation.
4.Manatees have a special film that protects their eyes when open underwater. They are nearsighted creatures who can only see in blue, green, and gray.
5.A group of manatees is called an aggregation. However, manatees do not travel in herds but usually alone or in pairs. If they are seen in a group, it is due to a warm area of water with a large food supply. This aggregation does not usually exceed 5 to 6 manatees.
6.Manatees can stay submerged up to 15 to 20 minutes while holding their breath, but they usually surface every 3 to 5 minutes. When they do surface for a breath, they can refill their lung capacity to 90% with just one breath.
7.A manatee will carry a baby in its womb for about 12 months before giving birth to the calf underwater. This calf will be swimming on its own about an hour after birth.
8.Female manatees are referred to as cows, while male manatees are referred to as bulls. They will reach maturity at 5 years old and live for about 40 years.
9.It is thought that manatees helped to perpetuate the stories and legends of sirens and mermaids. While sailing on long journeys the crew would see a manatee and, due to high exhaustion, believe it to be a mermaid or sirens calling out to them.
10.Because manatees only have 6 vertebrae in their neck, they must turn around to look behind them, as they cannot simply turn their neck.
11. Though many believe that manatees are closely related to whales or dolphins, they are most closely related to the elephant.
12.As of March 31, 2017, manatees are no longer on the endangered species list, but on the threatened species list. They are still a protected species, especially in Florida as they are still hunted for their blubber. The number one cause for death among manatees though is boat propellers.
To learn more about these beautiful sea creatures and to get the chance to see one up close, book a tour with us to Swim Where the Manatees Live! Book here--> https://graylineorlando.com/tours/orlando/swim-with-the-manatees-8747_26/