Drop everything you're doing and take some time out of your day to appreciate our favourite sea cow – the Manatee! Part of the Sirenia order (fully aquatic herbivores that include the Dugong and three types of manatee), the Manatee is a mammal that has unfortunately been classified as "vulnerable status" due to a wide variety of threats it faces. This includes habitat destruction, hunting and boat collisions.
We realize that while the Manatee holds a special place in our hearts (and how can they not? Those cute lettuce-loving beings!), we realize that some may know very little about them.
We've got you covered! Here are a few of our favourite Manatee facts:
- As an herbivore, the Manatee's diet consists of sea grass, mangrove leaves and algae.
- Manatees are usually found in shallow coastal areas. While the West Indian and West African Manatee live on the cusp between salt and fresh water, the Amazonian Manatee lives entirely in fresh water.
- According to fossil record, the Manatee evolved from the same land animals as Elephants!
- Manatees replace their teeth throughout their entire lives.
- Remember the mythical tales of mermaid encounters? Those were most likely Manatees.
- Manatees and Tree Sloths have an irregular number of vertebrae.
- Humans have played a great role in making all three Manatee species at risk for extinction, and a large portion of West Indian Manatee deaths are due to boat collisions.
- The Stellar's Sea Cow is a species of Manatee that went extinct in the late 1700s.
- Female Manatees generally have one calf every two to five years.
We love you, Manatee!