The Amazonian manatee is entirely aquatic and never leaves the water. The main threat to this species is … The Amazonian manatee is the smallest type of manatee, growing to just about 2.74 metres long and 499 kilograms. 5. Fun Facts. Although they look similar to manatees, dugongs have a more whale-like fluke compared to the round, paddle-like tail that you see on manatees. Within 27 years of first being described, the species was driven to extinction by hunting and competition for their kelp food source with an exploding urchin population. As herbivorous species, the Amazonian manatee eats aquatic vegetation like grasses, water hyacinths and water lettuce (pisitia). Stay tuned for more of my blogs on fascinating manatee fun facts! Researchers believe that the now-extinct Steller’s sea cow (the largest member of the order Sirenia) was at one point found throughout the Pacific, in waters off Japan and the U.S. west coast. About half of West Indian manatee deaths are caused by humans, and most are due to boat collisions. They are a freshwater species and live in and around the Amazon River. Due to severe overhunting, however, groups seen today number only 4 to 8 individuals. Manatees and their cousin the dugong, are exceedingly gentle, peaceful beings, often referred to as "sea cows". 20 Fun Facts About Manatees. In 2010 at least 246 manatees died in Florida due to cold stress from the colder-than-normal winter. Breeding can take place throughout the year, with peaks occurring at different times in various parts of the system of rivers. With low metabolic rates and minimal fat protection from cold water, they stick to water that is 60 degrees or warmer. The closest living relatives of sirenians are elephants. Give a Gift. Manatees may look like the Eeyores of the sea, but they’re really interesting animals. 1. Living only in bodies of freshwater, the Amazonian Manatee is generally found in lakes and lagoons. Manatees don't make very loud sounds, but they are vocal animals, with individual vocalizations. Here are 9 fun facts about manatees that will make you appreciate them more than ever. They live in small groups but they can gather in much larger groups. 14 Fun Facts About Manatees. All are threatened by overhunting, and the manatee has been listed as an endangered species. Not only is this and other forms of harassment such as hugging the sea creatures illegal (the West Indian manatee is listed as endangered in the United States), but it can also impact manatees’ natural behavior, changing the way they interact with humans. Amazonian manatees do most of their feeding during the wet season, when they eat new vegetation in seasonally flooded backwaters. Undoubtedly the coolest of all manatee facts is that their seemingly hairless bodies are actually covered in thousands of short, whisker-like, "tactile hairs", that can help them "see" what's around them. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. Amazonian Manatee Behaviour. They may look fat and insulated, but the large body of the manatee is mostly made up of their stomach and intestines! The manatee’s closest relatives are the elephant and the hyrax (a small, gopher-sized mammal). It has a flattened tail used for swimming and is a very docile and slow-moving creature. Scientists think this may have to do with their slow metabolism. They tend to find them off of the branches of larger rivers. Dugongs (Dugong dugon), in the same order (Sirenia) as manatees, spend all of their time in coastal ocean waters of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific and they don’t ever venture into freshwater. Manatees are gentle, non-aggressive animals. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida. But even slight disturbances to their lifestyles can do irreparable harm. Check out all these cool facts: Manatees live in shallow coastal waters and rivers, feeding on sea grass and algae. Tara Bradley Connell. Manatee brains are smooth (compared to our own that have the familiar ins and outs of cortical folds) and the ratio of their brain to their body size is the lowest of any mammal. These manatees are both nocturnal and diurnal and they live their lives almost entirely underwater. The closest living relatives to the manatee are the elephant and the hyrax. 17. It also has great hearing, despite having no outer ear structure. Currently Amazonian manatees are classified as Vulnerable (VU) and their numbers today continue to decrease. Manatee calves achieve sexual maturity by the age of 5 years and that is when they become capable having their own babies. Despite eating in a slow and secretive manner, an Amazonian manatee each day is able to eat as much as 8% of its body weight. November marks Manatee Awareness Month. There are three species of Manatee (Trichechus).They are the West African manatee (T. senegalensis), the Amazonian manatee (T. inunguis) and the West Indian manatee (T. manatus).The West Indian manatee is the species seen frequenting the Florida Coast. There are three species of manatees: Amazonian, African and West Indian manatees. It takes a manatee six to eight hours every day to find and eat their food. Manatees are thought to have evolved from four-legged land mammals more than 60 million years ago. If you are a mammal—whether that’s a human, giraffe, whale or rat—then you typically have seven neck vertebrae. Keep up-to-date on: © 2020 Smithsonian Magazine. That’s four times the weight of the black bear, Florida’s next-largest mammal. It is believed that the Amazonian Manatees are … The Amazonian manatee is the smallest type of manatee, growing to … This is due to a variety of threats including boat collisions, hunting, habitat destruction, and toxic red tides. 1. 1. In the wild these animals live for up to 30 years and in captivity around 12.5 years. Manatees go to the surface of the water every three to five minutes to breathe although they can remain underwater longer, holding their breath for up to 20 minutes. Despite their size and stubbly snout, manatees seem cute and cuddly to many ocean visitors. Although an Amazonian manatee has very small eyes, surprisingly it can see very well, and it even has a membrane that it … The main threat to this species is illegal harpoon hunting for subsistence. Manatee, any of three species of large slow aquatic mammals found along tropical and subtropical Atlantic coasts and associated inland waters, including the watersheds of the Amazon and Niger rivers. Manatees have a large flexible lip that they use to help them eat. It is hard to estimate their numbers due to their secretive nature and the murky water where they often live. Males are 5 to 6 years old when they first mate, and females much younger, with their average age being about 3 years old. Birth interval is 2 to 3 years. Although an Amazonian manatee has very small eyes, surprisingly it can see very well, and it even has a membrane that it is able to draw across its eyeballs for protection. The manatee is the wonderful gentle giant of the ocean. 1. They diverged from a common land mammal over 50 million years ago. Manatee Facts – Knowledge Challenge 10 April 9, 2020 Greetings! All three species of manatee—the Amazonian manatee, West Indian manatee, and West African manatee—and the related dugong are considered vulnerable (defined as facing a high risk of extinction in the wild) by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is the smallest of the three extant species of manatee. Interesting manatee facts: 16-20. Gestation period is 12 months and females give birth to one calf. The heaviest recorded was 836.5 lb (379.5 kg). Manatees travel between 40-50 miles every day! 7. or Except for the Amazonian manatee, their paddlelike flippers have vestigial toenails — a remnant of the claws they had when they lived on land. Seven Fun Facts About Manatees. In colder months, they find their way to warm river tributaries or warm water outputs from power plants. Amazonian Manatee Wikipedia article -, 2. New teeth are consistently entering the back of their mouth, taking the place of the old worn-out molars in the front. There are three accepted living species of Manatees: • the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) • the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) • the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis). The females have the freedom to leave their herd and so may mate with another male, meaning that Amazonian manatees may have a polyandrous mating system. They tend to spend a great deal of their time using verbal communication with each other or touching their bodies to each other. The Amazonian manatee is both diurnal (active during the day) and nocturnal (active during the night). They are able to maintain the correct balance in their bodies through an internal regulation system that works with the kidney to make sure salt concentrations never get too high. Amazing size Despite eating in a slow and secretive manner, an Amazonian manatee each day is able to eat as much as 8% of its body weight. West Indian (Trichechus manatus) and West African (T. senegalensis) manatees spend their lives on the cusp between salty and fresh water. FUN FACTS. They only live in freshwater and they prefer oxbows, blackwater lakes, and lagoons which have deep connections to big rivers and plenty of aquatic vegetation. They are also found in the Caribbean. Manatees are quite buoyant and use their horizontally placed diaphragm and breathing to control their buoyancy. Manatees evolved from the same land animals as elephants over 50 million years ago and the fossil record shows a much more diverse group of sirenians than we have today, with dugongs and manatees living together throughout their range. With weights of up to 1,200 pounds, that is a whole lot of greenery! Posted at 02:17h in Manatee Facts by ccollins. Young are very well looked after by their mothers, who will nurse them up to the age of 18 months. Only their nostrils stick up above the water as they search the bottoms of rivers and lakes for lush vegetation. What they did see: manatees. It's unclear if the manatees’ sweet looks can save them. In the central Amazon, births mostly occur in February-May, which is when water levels rise. Read on for some fun facts about the beloved manatee. 10. 16. Vote Now! They may not be as clever as dolphins, but manatees can learn basic tasks, are extremely sensitive to touch and can differentiate colors. Peixe-boi (Brazil), Sea cow, South American manatee, Amazon manatee. The West Indian manatee is related to the West African manatee, the Amazonian manatee, the dugong, and Steller’s sea cow, which was hunted to extinction in 1768. The largest recorded Amazonian manatee was 9.2 feet (2.8 meters). 03 Jul. These large, slow-moving marine mammals hang out in coastal areas and rivers where Florida spring-breakers can easily see them and think that it is a good idea to hop on for a ride. 6. 3. Fun Facts for Kids. ... but this claim was called into question and it is believed to actually be a juvenile Amazonian manatee. Touch a Manatee, Spend Six Months in Jail, Sea Cows Used To Walk on Land in Africa And Jamaica, West Indian manatees require some access to freshwater, 246 manatees died in Florida due to cold stress, closest living relatives of sirenians are elephants, fossil record shows a much more diverse group of sirenians, Georg Wilhelm Steller first described the sea cow, ratio of their brain to their body size is the lowest of any mammal, may have to do with their slow metabolism, half of West Indian manatee deaths are caused by humans, Study Rewrites History of Ancient Land Bridge Between Britain and Europe, Altar to Ancient Greek God Pan Found Embedded in Wall of Byzantine Church, Animals Are Using Utah's Largest Wildlife Overpass Earlier Than Expected, In the Ancient American Southwest, Turkeys Were Friends, Not Food, Tens of Thousands of 12,000-Year-Old Rock Paintings Found in Colombia, Stunning Paintings of Fictitious Black Figures Subvert Traditional Portraiture, 1,700-Year-Old Sock Spins Yarn About Ancient Egyptian Fashion, Before WWI, Trench Fever Plagued the Ancient Romans and Napoleonic Soldiers, The First Commercially Printed Christmas Card Scandalized Victorian England, The Horse Flu Epidemic That Brought 19th-Century America to a Stop, Watch This Backyard Squirrel Get a Little Tipsy on Fermented Pears, Ortolans, Songbirds Enjoyed as French Delicacy, Are Being Eaten Into Extinction, The Inspiring Quest to Revive the Hawaiian Language, The New Science of Our Ancient Bond With Dogs, Why Seagrass Could Be the Ocean's Secret Weapon Against Climate Change. Feeding mostly takes place in the wet season, when these animals graze on new plants in backwaters that are flooded seasonally. 13. California Do Not Sell My Info The endangered animals are threatened by a number of things, including toxic red tide and run-ins with watercraft. The Amazonian manatee is an aquatic mammal with a bizarre appearance, first described as follows: a curious combination of a seal and a hippopotamus. Living just in bodies of freshwater, these manatees are typically found in lagoons and lakes, often off the branches of bigger rivers. A unique feature manatees have amongst all mammals is constant replacement of their molar teeth, called “marching molars”. 9. When swimming, manatees sometimes do flips underwater or roll about, and they even swim upside down. Amazonian Manatee on The IUCN Red List site -,, The African and West Indian manatees live in fresh and warm salt waters in rivers and along coastal areas, while Amazonian manatees only live and thrive in fresh-water swamps, rivers and wetlands. Female manatees usually have one calf every two to five years and the calf then stays and nurses for two years. Although manatees are widespread through a large area, there is a high level of uncertainty about total population size. amazonian manatee interesting facts Manatees are slow creatures and usually swim at a speed of 5 miles an hour but when they are threatened by predators; they can pick up speed of up to 15 miles an hour in short bursts, thanks to their really strong tails. According to the IUCN Red List resource, a minimum of 10,000 individuals was estimated in 1977 for the Amazon Basin as a whole. What’s Killing Florida’s Manatees This Time? In fact, the most gigantic can weigh more than 3,500 pounds! It is believed that West Indian manatees require some access to freshwater (PDF) in order to stay hydrated, but they are able to easily move between the two ecosystems. Manatees are believed to have evolved from a wading, plant-eating animal. This enables them to travel back and forth between access points when they are in need of a good supply of plant life to eat. The manatee is … This manatee went extinct in 1768 because it was hunted for meals. 14 Fun Facts About Manatees. The Amazonian manatee has been sighted in all parts of the Amazon River Basin. Manatees have no natural predators in the wild but humans have played a large part in making all three species at risk of extinction. Manatees can make sounds to communicate fear or anger, in socializing, and to find each other (e.g., a calf looking for its mother). Whether they had been at sea for too long or it was a trick of the light, we now know that many of these encounters were with manatees. Amazonian manatees have marching teeth: A unique feature amongst all mammals is that manatees … This and their average speed of 3 to 5 miles per hour means that manatees are way too slow to escape from the path of a speeding boat. In their favor is the fact that we’re no longer deliberately chasing them down, unlike how humans hunted to extinction their long-lost relative, the Steller’s sea cow, in the 18th century. Humans have one round of baby teeth and then if we lose or hurt an adult tooth, a trip to the dentist is in order. A fourth dwarf manatee species was described in the mid-2000s, but this claim was called into question and it is believed to actually be a juvenile Amazonian manatee. Mating herds form that consist of a male and a few females. Evidence suggests that a manatee has a 6th sense, enabling it to detect changes in pressure through these sensory hairs. The Amazon species name \"inunguis\" is Latin for \"without nails.\"The name manatee comes from the Taíno (a pre-Columbian people of the Caribbean) word manatí, meaning \"breast.\"Manatees' eyes are small, but their eyesight is good. Current threats include hunting and drowning accidentally in commercial fishing nets. Large areas surrounding the manatee’s river habitats being deforested has also caused the soil to erode, as well as degradation of food sources and reduction in vegetation in the waterways. Manatee season has just ended here in Florida. Cookie Policy Amazonian Manatee Behavior. Advertising Notice Only tree sloths and manatees have an irregular number of vertebrae—just six for the manatee. 8. The Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) lives entirely in freshwater rivers throughout South America in the Amazon Basin. 13. It will also eat floating palm fruits. Smithsonian Institution. Manatees are typically found in shallow coastal areas and rivers where they feed on sea grass, mangrove leaves, and algae. 1. Reproduction. Names: The Amazonian manatee is also referred to as a sea cow, South American manatee, and peixe-boi (in Brazil). An individual in one day can eat as much as eight percent of its body weight of aquatic vegetation. Manatees are also known as sea cows. Here are some Manatee Facts for Kids: Manatees are marine mammals. The Amazonian manatee is the smallest of the group, measuring up to 9 feet and weighing less than 1,000 pounds. Dull gray, blackish, or brown in color, all three species have … The West Indian Manatee is found to live in the Southern part of the Atlantic Ocean. 12. 4. It has been hunted for meat, fat and oil, and in the past for its hide, for use as machine belts and water hoses. When the manatees return during the dry season to the primary water courses, for weeks they may not eat. Here’s a quick rundown on 11 marvelous manatee facts! If you see a manatee this spring break, look but don’t touch. Amazonian manatees are gregarious animals and used to occur in big herds. As herbivores, they can eat about ten percent of their body weight every day, and are chomping a good portion of the day. (It does have large bones in its inner ear.). Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Terms of Use 1. Christopher Columbus and other early explorers claimed to have seen female figures swimming in the ocean—the mermaids in the writings and drawings of this era. ". Scientists believe that the manatees have evolved from 4-legged land mammals that lived some 60 million years ago. The elephant is its closest living relative. 18. Manatees are typically found in shallow coastal areas and rivers where they feed on sea grass, mangrove leaves, and algae. Early explorers claimed to see mermaids rising out of the waters. When they do take a breath, 90 percent of the air in their lungs is replaced (whereas humans tend to replace about 10 percent). Births occur at 2-3 year intervals. But that’s not to stop me from continuing the awesome manatee fun! 1. Once occurring in large herds and with healthy population numbers, Amazonian manatee numbers have decreased due to extensive hunting by commercial and subsistence hunters. If the rubbery grey skin and lumbering nature of the manatee remind you a little of an earless elephant, it’s not that surprising. From mermaids and folklore to sea cows with deep breath holds, here are 20 facts about manatees that will make you love them even more. Privacy Statement “Manatee” is from a Taíno word (pre-Columbian people who lived in the Caribbean) “manatí,” which means "breast. Individuals in captivity are able to eat 9 to 15 kilograms per day of leafy vegetables. Emily Frost runs the Smithsonian Natural History Museum's Ocean Portal. Calves nurse from their mother’s teats, which are found right where the forward limbs meet the body. 2. The calves also can start nibbling on plants at only a few weeks old. 10 Facts About Amazonian Manatees: 1. Manatees are large, fully aquatic, marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows.. A single young is born after gestation of around one year. About Manatees The Florida manatee is the largest of all the world’s manatees. They also have the name ‘seacow’ and come from the ‘Sirenia’ order. Also known as the Amazonian ox manatee, this rare manatee is found in the Amazon Rivers and its larger tributaries, including rivers of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. In captivity they reach reproductive maturity at 2.5 years. Learn more about the ocean from Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal. photo: psyberartist via flickr These aquatic giants are gentle, clever and very, very big. 19. 3 Likes. Fun Facts •There is only four types of Manatees left around the world •The closets relative to the Manatee is the Elephant • Manatees can live to be 60 years old •Manatees reproduction rate is very slow and they can only reproduce every 6-7 years •Manatees can live in both fresh and salt water Large gray and friendly Sea Cow is a manatee 09. of 10. Other articles where Amazonian manatee is discussed: Amazon River: Animal life: …the giant sea cow, or manatee, is sought for its flesh and for oil. If you are in Florida and you see a sick or injured manatee, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. She is based in Washington, D.C. Continue All manatee species are highly endangered or vulnerable and facing a big risk of extinction, with the total manatee population projected to decline by about 30 percent in the next 20 years. Amazonian Manatee – Trichechus inunguis. They eat around 100 pounds of food or approximately 10% of their body weight daily. Manatees, like their elephant relatives, continuously replace their teeth throughout their lives with the older teeth at the front falling out and new teeth growing in at the back of their mouth. Aquatic animals also include river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis); the semiaquatic capybara, the largest rodent in the world (weighing up to 170… Latest estimates put the global population of the Florida manatee at 6,350 individuals; this is fewer than the number of worldwide human births happening every 30 minutes. Size: Amazonian Manatees can be up to 2.8 meters long (almost 9 feet), and weigh between 350 and 500 kg (770-1,100 lbs). The Antillean Manatees can be found in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America all the way down to Brazil. 14. Here are 60 more fun facts about animals you probably didn’t know before. The Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) is a species of manatee that lives in the Amazon Basin in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. There are three species of manatees: West Indian Manatees (Trichechus Manatus), West African Manatees (Trichechus Senegalensis), Amazonian or South American Manatees (Trichechus Inunguis). 3. 11. Warm water is a must for the West Indian and West African manatee species. An Amazonian manatee has endearing whiskers all over its snout. It is unknown in the wild. Measuring up to 12 feet from snout to tail, most adult manatees tip the scales at more than 1,200 pounds. These herbivores munch on food for almost half the day, eating ten percent of their body weight in plant mass every day. Manatees have a normal lifespan of 40 years. Amazonian manatees occur throughout the Amazon Basin in northern South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil). It has thin, wrinkled brownish or gray colored skin, with fine hairs scattered over its body and a white chest patch. In 1741, Georg Wilhelm Steller first described the sea cow from islands off the coast of Russia (in what would later be called the Bering Sea) as subsisting off of kelp and not being able to submerge underwater. Amazonian manatees breed throughout the year. ... Fun fact: A group of manatees is called an aggregation. 2. Their skin is smooth and, unlike other manatees, they have no nails on their flippers. Like all species, the Amazonian Manatee is very social. This allows them the ability to move back and forth between the access points when they need to find plenty of plant life to feed upon. Like elephants, a manatee’s molars wear down and move forward and fall out, and are replaced by new teeth coming in at the back of the mouth.

amazonian manatee fun facts

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