Manatee Lovers Unite

By Cayli Mitchell

Manatees are the cows of the sea: gentle giants who prefer warm water just like us. The month of November is National Manatee Awareness month, bringing attention to those of us who love playing in the water. Manatees don’t move fast and need us to slow down and to be careful when in their natural habitat. In the spirit of bringing awareness to manatees, here are ten facts about the graceful, lovable creatures.

  1. Manatees can weigh up to 1,200 lbs.

  2. They’re mammals who come to the water’s surface to breath every three to five minutes but can stay underwater for 20 minutes if necessary.

  3. The average speed a manatee can swim is three to five miles per hour.

  4. The closest living relative of the manatee is the elephant.

  5. There are three different living species of manatee, the most well known are the West Indian Manatee who live off the coast of Florida. The other two are the Amazonian Manatee and the African Manatee.

  6. They are herbivores and can eat up to one-tenth of their weight a day.

  7. Manatee calves live with their mothers for up to two years after birth.

  8. Manatees migrate and the ones who live in Florida have been seen as far north as Maryland.

  9. There are approximately 6,000 manatees living off the coast of Florida.

  10. Their gestation period is about one year, and they can only produce one calf.