Manatees: the Docile Sea Cows
LET'S LEARN ABOUT MANATEES
|What Are Manatees?|
Manatees are large, gray aquatic mammals with bodies that taper to a flat, paddle-shaped tail. They have two forelimbs, called flippers, with three to four nails on each flipper. Their head and face are wrinkled with whiskers on the snout.
How Big Do Manatees Get?
The average Florida manatee is about 10 feet long and weights between 800-1,200 pounds and can reach up to 13 feet in length and weigh 3,500 pounds!
What is the Myth About Manatees and Mermaids?
Many years ago sailors mistook manatees for legendary mermaids possibly because of the tricks light can play on the water, the distance the sailors were viewing them from, and the fact that these animals have a flat, mermaid-like tail. Christopher Columbus was the first person to record the sighting of a manatee in the new world and was surprised at the not-so-beautiful "mermaid."
WHY DOES ALGAE GROW ON MANATEES?
|Manatees are slow-moving mammals that can be found in shallow water and oftentimes frequent the water's surface, which makes them very vulnerable to be hit by fast speeding boats. Some manatees are covered with a benign layer of algae due to their slow movement in shallow water.|
WHY ARE MANATEES IN DANGER?
|Each year, hundreds of critically endangered manatees are killed in U.S. waters by boats, disease, and cold weather. 2006 was the worst year on record for manatee deaths - 416 animals perished. With only a few thousand remaining in the wild, mostly in heavily developed Florida wetlands, the clock is ticking in efforts to save this amazing mammal from extinction.|
WHAT ARE DUGONGS? ARE THEY MANATEES TOO?
|Dugongs are a rare species that are closely related to manatees. They cling to survival in a few isolated corners of the globe. In marine sanctuaries in Abu Dhabi, the bizarre animals have been notoriously hard to find, let alone photograph. Manatees and Dugongs features exclusive HD imagery of the mammals in the wild and examines efforts of scientists to protect the two species. The program also includes thrilling captures and field exams of manatees in Florida.|
HOW DO MANATEES CARE FOR THEIR YOUNG?
|The relationship between a mother and baby is the strongest social bond created by manatees. A baby manatee is called a calf and the calf will stay close to the mother for one to two years to learn travel routes and the location of food, rest areas, and warm water refuges.|
How Long Can Manatees Hold Their Breath?
Since manatees are mammals they do need fresh air to breathe however they can take in more oxygen than humans when resting. When active, they usually surface to breathe every 2-5 minutes, and when using a great deal of energy, they may surface to breathe as often as every 30 seconds.
WATCH A VIDEO ON BLUE SPRING FLORIDA MANATEES STATE PARK
|One of the best places to see manatees in all of Florida is at Blue Spring Florida Manatees State Park located in Range City, FL. Florida TV takes an inside look at to why manatees flock here each year. And why people travel from around the world just to view these amazing creatures.|
We tag along with the "Save the Manatee" experts that show us how they track, save, and count these sea cows. Save the Manatee Club was founded in 1981 by Bob Graham, former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator, and singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett. The Club was started with the mission to protect manatees and their habitat. Today, Save the Manatee Club is the world's leading manatee conservation organization.
DO MANATEES HAVE ANY NATURAL PREDATORS?
Manatees have no natural predators. While many people think sharks or alligators may be a threat to manatees, this species peacefully co-exist. Unfortunately, manatees face many other threats such as cold weather, red tides, and algae blooms as well as collision with motorboats, entanglement in fishing lines, ingestion of debris, and habitat loss due to development.
RECOMMENDED READING MATERIALS @ YOUR LIBRARY
|SAM THE SEA COW|
by: Francine Jacobs
Call Number: J 599.5 JAC
Sam is called a sea cow because that's what he looks like - a big cow grazing in the ocean. He is also called a manatee. Readers are introduced to Sam when he is just hours old - though already forty pounds! - and watch him grow up. Combined with Sam's touching big adventure and numerous fun facts about manatees.
|SLOW DOWN FOR MANATEES|
by: Jim Arnosky
Call Number; E ARNOSKY
Manatees are the gentle giants of southeastern coastal waterways. An endangered species, their biggest threat is humans, who unwittingly hit them with their boats in shallow waters. This is the story of one of those accidents, which leads the manatee to be taken to a rescue and rehabilitation facility. There they discover that the manatee is pregnant. And while she recovers and gives birth to a healthy baby, she longs to be free. Ultimately, both manatees are released into the wild.
by: Ruth Owen
Call Number: J 599.55 OWE
Series: Water Babies
In warm ocean water, a mother manatee gives birth to a single calf. So begins the life of a young manatee - one of the most unusual looking marine mammals on Earth. Readers will learn how a manatee calf drinks milk from its mother and learns to forage for ocean plants. Children will learn about every aspect of a baby manatee's daily life and habitat.
|MANATEES: OCEAN LIFE UP CLOSE|
by: Rebecca Pettiford
Call Number: J 599.55 PET
Series: Blastoff! Readers
Manatees are true gentle giants. Though many weigh more than 1,000 pounds, they do not use their size to overpower other sea creatures. They spend a lot of their time peacefully eating underwater grasses. Young students will close this title understanding how the manatee earned its "sea cow" nickname.
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