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10 Interesting Manatee Facts For Kids – Cows of the Sea!

One of the most interesting creatures of the aquatic sphere that you will encounter are Manatees- the cows of the sea! They are marine animals who hardly come out of the sea, as they are not capable of walking on land. However, they breathe through their lungs just like Dolphins and many aquatic animals, and thus they have to come out of the water to inhale oxygen every 3-4 minutes. 

There are many amazing and amusing Manatee facts for kids that will definitely catch your attention and make you want to admire these creatures even more. In this article, we will read about some such facts.

10 Interesting Manatee Facts For Kids

Basic facts related to Manatees aquatic animals

  • Name: Manatees
  • Scientific classification: Family- Trichechidae, Genus Trichechus, Phylum- Chordata, Kingdom- Animalia.
  • Latin Name: Trichechus inunguis
  • Appearance (physical characteristics): If you spot them from a distance, a Manatee looks like a floating potato! However, their physical characteristics which help them adapt to their surroundings are mentioned below:
    • Split lips
    • Faces with creases on them
    • Body shape and structure like a fish (more like a dolphin)
    • Forelimbs in the shape of a paddle
    • Flippers to be used as hands or feet both
    • A horizontal tail

The appearance of a Manatee matches that of an elephant as they are closely related to them. They are grey in colour and have heads in the shape of an egg. Their body is completely hairless. 

Manatee Size and Weight
  • Size and Weight: On average, the weight of a Manatee is somewhere between 800 to 1300 pounds. However, they are pretty heavy creatures, and sometimes their weight can go up to 3000 pounds. Their height or length can go up to 13 feet. 
  • Habitat and Range: Manatees can be found in various water bodies such as rivers, canals, bays, estuaries, etc. They generally move around in coastal areas, swimming their way between saline, fresh and brackish waters. 

Geographically speaking, they can be found in the area that starts from the southern part of the United States and passes through regions such as the Caribbean Islands, Central America, the Gulf of Mexico, and the northern part of Latin America. (also read)

  • Some famous Manatees found around the world are:
    • West Indian Manatee
    • West African Manatee
    • Amazonian Manatee
Manatee Diet
  • Diet: Manatees are herbivorous animals. They graze seagrass and other plants of the aquatic arena. They are compared to cows because, just like them, they spend the better part of their day grazing! 
  • Life Expectancy: The life expectancy of Manatees is 40 to 60 years. 

10 Interesting Manatee facts for kids

  1. The famous Manatee flips: Manatees float underwater with the help of their tail. However, while moving, Manatees perform flips inside the water. They roll around in different directions and sometimes even swim upside down, not because of some particular reason, but probably because they are getting bored, and just want to have some fun!
  1. The constant grazing: As we have read earlier, Manatees tend to spend about 8 hours every day only on grazing. As a result, they eat up food worth 10% of their weight. This can account for about 100 pounds of food!
Two Manatees
  1. No turning around: Unlike humans and many other animals, Manatees cannot turn their heads around! This is because of the shape of their neck and body. If they need to look back for some reason, they have to turn their whole body around!
  1. Manatees were the seed of the idea of mermaids: Some people believe that Manatees were the reason people started believing in the existence of mermaids! Many animations and movies made on mermaids were a result of the inspiration given to them by the body structure of Manatees.
  1. Growing and re-growing molars: Manatees have about 32 molars in the back of their mouth. However, in a matter of time, when these molars or teeth wear off, new teeth automatically grow in their mouth!
Manatee under water
  1. Eat, Sleep, Travel, Repeat: The list of chores done by Manatees on a day-to-day basis are eating, sleeping, and travelling. They are slow travellers and swim 40 to 50 miles every day! Their travelling speed is very less- 3 to 5 mph. Although they can swim for up to 20 mph if racing with a fellow Manatee or making a sprint!
  1. The Manatee gang: Manatees can often be seen bodysurfing in a group. They interact with each other by making sounds and noises such as chirping, whistling, and squeaking. Manatees also play with each other sometimes. However, they are believed to spend most of their time alone. 
  1. Smart and obedient Manatees: Just like dolphins, Manatees are smart, and they can be taught tricks. As we know, they are already known to do flips. If taught properly, they can do many other such things. They flip out of the ocean to breathe every 3-4 minutes but can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes at a time!
  1. Cute Manatees: Manatees are gentle and not at all aggressive. They are, in fact, considered to be cuddle material for many animal lovers! They are fluffy, cute, and lazy animals that everyone adores. 
  1. Manatee death facts: It has been declared illegal to hunt a Manatee. However, the biggest threat to a Manatee still comes from its biggest predator- humans- who used to hunt them for their skin and oil. Apart from that, Manatees are prone to death by getting hit by a boat or a ship. However, it is very difficult for Manatees to survive if the temperature of the water goes below 60 degrees. This may even lead to loss of habitat for them.
Cute Manatee

After reading all these Manatee facts, kids, you may now want to adopt a Manatee for your house because why not? They are adorable and require very little maintenance. But it is better if we let them stay in their habitat with their friends, where they will definitely be the happiest and far away from their predators! Also, their love for travelling can be adhered to only in the vast trenches of the ocean. 

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