1. Manatees are very gentle and slow-moving. The majority of their time is spent eating, resting, and traveling.
2. They have basically no natural enemies. (Well duh, just look at that adorable squidgy face!)
3. Human watercraft accidents and loss of habitat are the main threats to manatee life.
4. Their lil’ eyes may be small, but their eyesight is surprisingly keen.
Manatees have a membrane which can be drawn across the eyeball for protection, which is why their eyes can look “flat” in some instances.
5. The name “manatee” comes from the Taíno (pre-Colombian people of the Caribbean) word “manatí” which means “breast.”
6. A manatee can eat A TENTH of its body weight in 24 hours. That’s like a human eating (on average) fifteen pounds of food in a day. THINK ABOUT IT.
7. Manatees are born underwater and mothers help their calves to the surface for their first breath.
8. Manatees never leave the water, but they must surface to breathe.
A resting manatee can stay submerged for 15 minutes, but must surface every 3-4 minutes while swimming.
10. Their diet consists of water grasses, weeds, and algae. So, basically, y’know, green stuff.
11. Manatees are the state marine mammal of Florida. Good choice, Floridians.
12. Despite their slow-moving nature, manatees have been known to “body surf” or “barrel roll” while playing. Which is the cutest thing ever.
13. Their thick, bristled, upper lip helps them collect food. The lip is split down the middle, and each half can be used independently to grasp at vegetation.
14. Manatees are considered to be a Vulnerable Species, as the number of mature individuals is currently estimated to number less than 10,000.
This number is expected to decline at a rate of at least 10 percent over the course of three generations.
15. Manatees have six neck vertebrae, whereas most other mammals have seven…
16. … Because of this, manatees can’t turn their head sideways, and have to turn their entire body to look behind them.
17. Manatee nipples are located behind their flippers – in what we would consider to be the arm pit.
“Watch the hands, buddy!”