Research Paper On Manatees

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The Manatees Of Southern Florida: Just How Amazing Are These Guys?

Most animals are awesome, but anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting a manatee knows they are in a class all by themselves. These southern Floridians are peaceful, curious, graceful and sometimes downright funny. Here 's a brief Q and A that shows just how awesome they are and a little bit about the challenges they 're facing.

Just What Is A Manatee?

Manatees are gracious aquatic mammals, called Trichechus manatus by scientists. They grow to about 9 feet tall and a whopping 1,000 pounds. At top speed, an adult can zoom through the water at nearly 20 miles per hour, but usually choose to cruise at around 5.

Often referred to as "sea cows", these gentle creatures are
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The manatee happily languishes through mealtime, which takes up nearly 8 hours every day! They enjoy the sea grass and weeds, and don 't mind taking in the algae as well. Since they 're eating off the ocean floor, what enters their mouths will have grains of sand; chewing this results in the eventual loss of teeth, but fear not, they grow them back all throughout their adult lives.

A baby manatee, called a calf, will survive off its mother 's milk until for the first few years of life.

Are Manatees Really People-Friendly?

A group of manatees is called an aggregation and if you 're ever fortunate enough to observe one, you 'll notice gentle, affectionate behavior. They nudge and snuggle each other playfully, and might do the same to you if you joined them in the water, but as with any wild creature, it 's best to remain a passive observer.

For example, quietly paddle a canoe through a calm river (they can switch from salt to fresh water with no problem!) in Southern Florida in late November and you 'll possibly spy a manatee nibbling at the bottom. Although it wouldn 't bite you if you jumped in, keeping creatures wild keeps them alert to the possible dangers of other humans who may not have such innocent intentions.

If you 're seriously craving a dip with these gentle giants, though, find a man-made habitat where, under controlled circumstances with a captive manatee, you can get your up close and personal

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