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Good job Manatees! Here's 10 Surprising Facts About Manatees

1. MANATEE COMES FROM A CARIB WORD.  The manatee`s name is derived from manati, a Carib term meaning “breast” or “udder.” These docile creatures are also called sea cows.

  2. MANATEES ARE THE OCEAN`S LARGEST HERBIVORES.  Manatees inhabit the coastal waters and rivers of the Caribbean, Amazon, and West Africa. Adults can grow up to 13 feet in length and weigh up to 1300 pounds, and can consume 10 to 15 percent of their body weight in vegetation daily.

3. MANATES can swim up to 20 mph. With a strong paddle-shaped tail, the manatees can swim in short hops up to 20 mph. But the placid animals are usually content to cruise along at 5 mph.

 4. THERE ARE THREE SPECIES OF MANATEE.  It`s easy to tell where each species lives—it`s right there in their common names. The West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) inhabits the coastal waters of the Caribbean Sea. Its two subspecies, the Florida manatee (T. manatus latirostris) and the Antillean manatee (T. manatus manatus) are both listed as “threatened” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and are protected by law. Along with the West Indian manatee, the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis), and the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) belong to the order Sirenia, which also includes the dugong (Dugong dugon) and the extinct Steller`s sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas).

5. The sailors have a confused manate for the mermaid. According to the ship’s diary dated January 9, 1493, Christopher Columbus “clearly saw three mermaids rising far from the sea, but  their faces had  masculine features. They weren’t as handsome as they were told. ”Columbus wasn’t the only navigator to find mermaids in the water. The reason they weren’t as beautiful as they had imagined was that they were actually manatees.

6. Manatees can hold their breath in the water for 15-20 minutes.  Manatees usually surface every three to five minutes to breathe. With a single breath, manatees can replace 90 percent of the air in their lungs; humans, by comparison, replace just 10 percent.

7. YOU`LL BE ARRESTED FOR HARASSING A MANATEE.  Back in 2012, a woman was arrested in Florida for riding a manatee. Why is it a drastic measure?  West Indian Manatee is protected by the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Manatee Sanctuary Act of Florida, so “at any time, by any means, or by any means, intentionally or carelessly to endangered animals. Harassing is against the law .. “Harassing, harassing, or annoying, or attempting to harass, harass, or annoy”. Yes, it includes riding.

8. Manatees are closely related to elephants. Manatees’ land cousins, the elephant and the rock hyrax, are in the shape of a heart with a round bottom. Most animals have  a tapered heart.

 9. Boats are one of the biggest threats to Florida manatees. Manatees are exposed to many threats, including toxic algae (also known as red tides) and runaway ships. The collision with  the boat is the biggest murderer of Florida’s calm giant. A 2004 study  found that 97% of Florida manatees had boat crash marks.

 10. MANATES has a delicate bear called a mustache. Adult manatees have about 2000  thick hairs on the face and 3000 thick hairs on the body. These innervated follicles help the manatees sense and explore the world around them.

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