Florida  Manatee
   

Trichechus manatus latirostris
   
SEA COW
WEST INDIAN MANATEE
   
    SCIENTIFIC  CLASSIFICATION
    KINGDOM :              Animal         
    SUB KINGDOM :     Metazoa       
    PHYLUM :                Chordata
    SUB PHYLUM :       Vertebrata
    CLASS :                   Mammalia
    ORDER :                  Sirenia
    FAMILY :                  Trichechidae
    GENUS :                  Trichechus   
    SPECIES :                manatus
    SUB SPECIES :       latirostris
    ********************************************************************************************************************
    to learn about SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION ...
    go to ...
    LINNAEUS SYSTEM OF CLASSIFICATION page
 
" LORD..
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures
"
Psalm 104:24

    HELPFUL  INFORMATION

    WITHIN THE ORDER SIRENIA ..
    THERE ARE 4 SPECIES OF RELATED AQUATIC  ANIMALS

    THE 4 SIRENIAN SPECIES ARE DIVIDED INTO 2 FAMILIES
    Trichechidae  
    with the 3 different species of manatee
    Dugongidae
    with the 1 species of dugong in the world


    WEST AFRICAN MANATEE   -   Trichechus senegalensis
    coastal waters - low rivers of west AFRICA .. ANGOLA  to SENEGAL - Indian Ocean - South Pacific Ocean

    AMAZONIAN MANATEE   -   Trichechus inunguis
    Amazon River -  BRAZIL  ECUADOR  COLUMBIA  PERU       

    WEST INDIAN MANATEE   -   Trichechus manatus
    the West Indies are the islands of the Caribbean Ocean



    SCIENTISTS DO NOT KNOW ALL THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT  MANATEES




    THIS IS HOW FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE SIMILARITIES TO
    elephants . aardvarks . hyraxes . dugongs


    THE CLASSIFICATION ORDER SIRENIA IS WITHIN A GROUP OF 4 ORDERS
    all 4 of these orders are called   subungulates
    THE ORDERS ARE ..
    Sirenia              -  manatee species and dugong species AND 1 EXTINCT SPECIES
    Proboscidea    -  elephants
    Hyracoidea      -  hyraxes
    Tubulidentata  -  aardvarks


    ALL 4 ORDERS SHARE SIMILAR PHYSICAL TRAITS

    THE STELLAR SEA COW WAS A MEMBER OF THE SIRENIA ORDER
    BUT
    WAS WILLFULLY AND CRUELLY EXTINCTED BY HUMANS

    THERE ARE 2 SUBSPECIES OF WEST INDIAN MANATEE ..

    FLORIDA MANATEE  
    of FLORIDA and the southeastern UNITED STATES

    ANTILLEAN MANATEE
    of CENTRAL AMERICA and northeastern SOUTH AMERICA to BRAZIL


    florida manatees are aquatic mammals
    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE NO NATURAL PREDATORS
 

    BIOLOGY
    physical characteristics

    COLOR
    FLORIDA MANATEES ARE A BROWN TO GREY COLOR
    MAY APPEAR ..
    brown . reddish . whitish . black
    THESE COLORATIONS DEVELOP FROM ALGAE AND BARNACLES ON THEIR SKIN

    SHAPE
    FLORIDA MANATEES ARE SHAPED PERFECTLY FOR AQUATIC LIFE   ! ! !
    round cylinder shaped bodies that taper at each end
    NO DORSAL FIN
    no hind legs
    FRONT LEGS ARE LIKE PADDLES
    large rounded tail

    SIZE
    THE FLORIDA MANATEE IS A LARGE MAMMAL
    FEMALE FLORIDA MANATEES ARE ALWAYS A BIT LARGER THAN MALE FLORIDA MANATEES
    female .. 12 - 14  feet long
    male    .. 10 - 12  feet long

    WEIGHT
    usually about  1,500  pounds
    BUT ..
    can be up to  3,000  pounds

    SKIN
    rough
    thick
    tough
    wrinkly
    FLORIDA MANATEE'S SKIN IS 2 INCHES THICK   ! ! !
    when manatees sleep .. algae attach themselves to the manatee's backs
    their skin naturally sloughs off regularly
    algae does not seem to bother them

    WATER CONDUCTS HEAT AWAY FROM A MAMMAL'S BODY
    UP TO 25 % FASTER THAN AIR DOES
    florida manatees need to have a layer of fat under their skin to protect them from heat loss
    THE THICK LAYER OF FAT IS
    insulation against cool water temperatures
    and
    reserve of nutrition

    HAIR
    FLORIDA MANATEES BODIES ARE COVERED WITH HAIRS
    these body hair bristles are .. short .. 1 - 2  inches long

    HEAD
    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE SMALL HEADS   ! ! !
    their snouts are ..
    round .. blunt .. broad
    FLORIDA MANATEES CANNOT TURN THEIR HEADS SIDEWAYS
    to look to their left or right florida manatees have to turn their whole bodies

    MOST MAMMALS HAVE THE SAME NUMBER OF VERTEBRAE IN THEIR NECKS .. 7
    florida manatees have ONLY 6 neck vertebrae     !  !  !

    NOSE
    NOSTRILS HAVE LARGE EXTERNAL FLAPS OF SKIN THAT COVER NOSTRILS .. SUPER TIGHT
    no water gets in

    EARS
    VERY SMALL .. DIFFICULT TO SEE
    located right behind eyes
    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE EXCELLENT HEARING  ! ! !

    EYES
    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE SMALL EYES
    florida manatees have super terrific vision  ! ! !
    FLORIDA MANATEES DO NOT HAVE EYELASHES   ! ! !    WOW   !!
    florida manatees have 3 eyelids
    2 EXTERNAL LIDS .. CLOSE WHEN SLEEPING OR BLINKING
    clear nictating membrane eyelid
    SLIDES DOWN OVER EYES WHEN SWIMMING UNDERWATER SO THEY CAN SEE   ! ! !

    MOUTH
    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE AMAZING MOUTHS  ! ! !
    their mouths are extremely extremely sensitive
    the entire snout is covered with vibrassae  ( whiskers )
    the whiskers cover the upper lip sections
    upper lip is vertically divided into 2 sections .. 2 halves
    FLORIDA MANATEES UPPER LIP TISSUE IS DEEPLY DIVIDED IN THE MIDDLE INTO
    2 MUSCULAR STRONG SECTIONS
    THESE 2 SECTIONS ARE LARGE PREHENSILE LIPS
    ( prehensile means that they have fantastic gripping strength )
    THEIR LIPS HAVE VERY FLEXIBLE PADS FOR GRIPPING AND GRABBING
    these flexible lip pads help to get food into their mouth
    THEY HAVE THICK STIFF BRISTLES ALL AROUND THEIR MOUTHS
    these bristles help to get food into their mouths

    FLORIDA MANATEES USE THEIR LIPS TO GRIP AND TEAR OFF BUNCHES OF VEGETATION

    FLORIDA MANATEES CAN MOVE ONE SIDE OF THEIR LIPS INDEPENDENTLY OF THE OTHER SIDE   ! ! !

    wow !!!!

    A MANATEE TOUCHING A HUMAN WITH THEIR MOUTH IS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE  ! ! !
    they feel your hand with their whiskers .. they vibrate them all over your hand .. gathering information !!
    then they squeeze your little human hand in just one half of their super strong upper lip !!
    they are so gentle and beautiful .. they want to know us .. the way they communicate with us is beautiful ..
    it is really amazing  ! ! !

    THEIR AMAZING LIPS CLOSE ON PLANTS WITH STRENGTH LIKE PLIERS !!!

    TEETH  
    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE A DIPHYODONT TYPE OF TOOTH DENTITION PATTERN
    diphyodont is a type of dental tooth arrangement in mammals
    WITH
    2 sets of teeth
    1st BABY TEETH
    2nd PERMANENT TEETH
    ( DENTITION -  the type and number and arrangement of teeth of a particular species of animal )
    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE A VERY UNUSUAL ARRANGEMENT OF TEETH   ! ! !

    FLORIDA MANATEES DO NOT HAVE FRONT TEETH  ! ! !
    no incisors
    no canines
    no premolars
    THEY HAVE ONLY MOLARS   ! ! !

    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE HUGE TEETH IN THE BACK OF THEIR MOUTHS  ! ! !
    these molar teeth are for chewing and grinding  ! ! !

    FLORIDA MANATEE'S TEETH WEAR DOWN FROM THE TOUGH AQUATIC WATER VEGETATION THEY EAT
    their teeth wear down from the sand that is often inside their food
    THE TEETH IN THE FRONT OF THEIR MOUTHS WEAR DOWN FASTER
    THAN THE TEETH IN THE BACK OF THEIR MOUTHS   ! ! !
    all of the teeth are continually replaced in regular intervals
    THE TEETH ARE CONSTANTLY IN MOTION   !!!
    wow  !!!!
    NEW TEETH DEVELOP AND GROW IN THE BACK OF THE MOUTH  
    the new teeth drop down into position in the back of the mouth
    THE NEW TEETH THEN MOVE HORIZONTALLY FORWARD ALONG THE JAW ..
    FROM BACK TO FRONT OF MOUTH
    the teeth move at a rate of .04 of an inch or 1/25th of an inch per month   ! ! !

    FLORIDA MANATEE'S MOLARS ARE CALLED  MARCHING MOLARS     ! ! !

    when the newer tooth gets to the front of the mouth .. the worn tooth gets pushed out
    ONLY THE WORN TOOTH ITSELF GETS PUSHED OUT
    the root of the tooth gets absorbed back into the body  !   wow !

    BIOLOGISTS CAN OFTEN DETERMINE AN ANIMAL'S AGE BY EXAMINATION OF THEIR TEETH
    the exact age of florida manatees cannot be determined by examination of teeth ..
    because their teeth are constantly replaced

    SKELETON
    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE THICK STRONG HEAVY BONES

    HEART
    HEART BEATS AT A RATE OF  50 - 60 BEATS PER MINUTE
    during an 8 minute dive .. heart rate decreases to 30 beats per minute

    LUNGS
    MUST SURFACE TO BREATHE
    WHEN THEY BREATHE .. FLORIDA MANATEES FLOAT TO THE SURFACE
    TAKE DEEP DEEP BREATHE
    AND
    LET OUT LOUD LOUD SNORT   ! ! !

    each time they breathe .. their body exchanges 50 % of the air in their lungs .. for new fresh air !

    WHEN THEY ARE ACTIVE .. FLORIDA MANATEES BREATHE EVERY 3 - 5 MINUTES  

    CAN HOLD THEIR BREATHE FOR UP TO 20 MINUTES  ! ! !

    when they are sleeping they rise gradually from the water bottom ..
    every 10 -15 minutes ..
    then they take a somnolent breath   ! ! !
    wow !!!
    THAT IS SO AMAZING !!   BECAUSE THEY ARE SLEEPING !!!

    the location of both the lungs and diaphragm help the florida manatee with their extreme buoyancy

    DIGESTIVE TRACT
    FLORIDA MANATEES INTESTINES ARE  150  FEET LONG
    they need super long intestines to help digest their vegetarian food !!!

    FLIPPERS
    MANATEES ONLY HAVE 2 FRONT LEGS
    they do not have back legs
    THEIR FRONT LEGS HAVE ARE ACTUALLY 2 AMAZING PECTORAL FLIPPERS
    their flippers are very very dextrous and very very flexible  !!!
    THEY USE THEIR FLIPPERS LIKE HANDS  !!!!
    they use them to hold food and to feed themselves
    USE THEIR FLIPPERS
    to navigate bodies
    to paddle
    to control direction
    to steer
    to stabilize body
    FLORIDA MANATEES CAN .. pivot .. paddle .. scull      ! ! !

    each flipper has 3 or 4 nails on the tip
    THESE ARE AMAZING FINGERNAILS
    THEIR FINGERNAILS ARE SUPER SUPER STRONG  ! ! !
    they use their fingernails to dig for plant roots  ! ! !

    THE FLIPPERS OF ADULT FLORIDA MANATEES CAN BE TURNED INWARD
    TO ACTUALLY WALK ON IN SHALLOW WATER   !!!
    wow !!!!

    FLORIDA MANATEES USE THESE AMAZING FLIPPERS TO EMBRACE EACH OTHER  !!
    THEY REALLY DO HUG !!!

    THE FLIPPERS OF BABY FLORIDA MANATEES ARE USED FOR ..
    swimming
    and
    to cling to their mom's back   ! ! !

    TAIL
    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE A SPATULATE TAIL
    large rounded tail
    shaped like .. paddle .. beaver tail

    the dugong's tail is like a dophin's tail

    WHEN FLORIDA MANATEES SWIM THE PROPULSION SOURCE IS FROM THEIR TAILS !!
    they pump their tails up and down to propel their bodies forward   

    TAILS HELP TO STABILIZE BODY WHEN THEY..
    swim
    or
    float upright with their snouts out of water  ( in their resting position )
 

    LIFESPAN

    SCIENTISTS ARE NOT EXACTLY SURE HOW LONG FLORIDA MANATEES LIVE
    THE LIFESPAN OF FLORIDA MANATEES IS KNOWN TO BE AT LEAST 60 - 70 YEARS    
    BUT IT IS LIKELY THAT THEY ACTUALLY LIVE MUCH MUCH MUCH LONGER  ! ! !
 

    WHERE  IN  THE  WORLD


    COASTAL ATLANTIC OCEAN

    FLORIDA
    GEORGIA
    GULF OF MEXICO

    FLORIDA MANATEES LIVE AROUND BOTH COASTS OF FLORIDA YEAR ROUND

    DURING THE SUMMER FLORIDA MANATEES
    MAY GO AS FAR NORTH AS UP TO RHODE ISLAND

    AND

    AS FAR WEST ALONG THE GULF COAST PAST LOUISIANA



    DURING THE WINTER FLORIDA MANATEES
    ARE IN FLORIDA
    IN WARM WATER SPRINGS
    OR
    NEAR INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES THAT  ( very irresponsibly )  SEND OUT WARM WATER


    NATURAL FLORIDA INLAND WATER WAYS ARE  72  DEGREES IN WINTER  
    FLORIDA MANATEES LOVE THESE WATERWAYS  ! ! !
    LIKE ..
    THE CRYSTAL RIVER IN HOMOSASSA SPRINGS  FLORIDA

    FLORIDA MANATEES LOVE
    THE ST JOHNS RIVER IN FLORIDA
 

    HABITAT
    FLORIDA MANATEES LIVE IN WARM TROPICAL AND SUB-TROPICAL WATERS

    SHALLOW RIVERS
    SLOW MOVING RIVERS
    ESTUARIES
    SALTWATER BAYS
    CANALS
    COASTAL WATERS
    LAGOONS
    ( they require coastal waters to have seagrass beds )

    FLORIDA MANATEES PREFER ..
    rivers with true grasses
    estuaries with sea grasses
    areas with fresh water to drink

    PREFER WATER TEMPERATURES TO BE ABOVE  68  DEGREES FAHRENHEIT
    they do not do too well in temperatures below  68  degrees Fahrenheit
    CANNOT SURVIVE IN WATER TEMPERATURES BELOW  46  DEGREES FAHRENHEIT

    FLORIDA MANATEES CAN LIVE IN EITHER ..
    SALT WATER    ..   OR   ..    FRESH WATER     ! ! !

    FLORIDA MANATEES  LOVE  LOVE  LOVE  NATURAL HOT SPRINGS  ! ! !

    MALE FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE A PERSONAL TERRITORY OF ABOUT  60  MILES   ! ! !
    FEMALE FLORIDA MANATEES DO NOT MOVE ABOUT VERY MUCH
    AND DO NOT HAVE THE SAME TYPE
    OF PERSONAL TERRITORY AS THE MALES DO
 

    FOOD

    FLORIDA MANATEES ARE VEGETARIANS  ! ! !
    THEY ARE HERBIVORES
    HERBIVOROUS
    THEIR FOOD IS 100 % PLANTS  
    FRESH WATER PLANTS
    SALT WATER PLANTS

    can eat  100 - 200  pounds of food a day !!
    USUALLY EAT ABOUT  100  POUNDS EVERY DAY  ! ! !

    FLORIDA MANATEES ARE THE ONLY MAMMAL THAT EATS SEA VEGETATION  ! ! !

    THEY EAT A HUGE VARIETY OF FOODS
    AQUATIC VEGETATION
    SEMI AQUATIC VEGETATION
    VEGETATION GROWING AT WATER'S EDGE ON BANKS

    SALT WATER PLANTS ..
    underwater plants
    floating vegetation
    seaweeds
    sea grasses

    FRESH WATER PLANTS ..
    growing from riverbed but flowering above water .. water hyacinth

    WILL SOMETIMES COME UP OUT OF WATER WITH FRONT PART OF BODY TO GRAZE ON PLANTS
    BUT WILL NOT COME ALL THE WAY OUT

    when they eat floating vegetation .. they use their filpper paws to maneuver into mouth
    when they eat river bottom plants .. they use mouth like vacuum

    they chew vigorously  .. REALLY FAST ..  2  times per second  ! ! !

    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE VERY VERY SENSITIVE TASTE BUDS ON THEIR TONGUES
    they are very very selective about the foods they choose
    FLORIDA MANATEES HAVE DISTINCT FOOD PREFERENCES AND FAVORITES  ! ! !

    THE MAIN ACTIVITY OF FLORIDA MANATEES IS EATING   !  !
    they spend at least 8 hours every day EATING ! !
    THEY SPEND THE REST OF THEIR DAY .. RESTING .. AND .. LEISURELY SWIMMING   !!
    they   feed and rest .. feed and rest ..  ALL DAY .. EVERY DAY  !!
    THEY NEED TO EAT QUITE A BIT OF FOOD TO GET GOOD NUTRITION  
    eat 10 - 15 % of their body weight in food EVERY day  ! ! !

    DIGESTIVE TRACT CONTAINS LOTS AND LOTS OF BENEFICIAL GOOD BACTERIA THAT HELP
    TO BREAK DOWN AND DIGEST THE CELLULOSE
    they have quite a vigorous digestive tract
    THEIR DIGESTION PROCESS PRODUCES QUITE A BIT OF FLATULENCE  !
 
  WOODCARVING  PHOTOGRAPHS    
15 inches tall
 
   
 
   
 
" God said, Let the waters teem with living creatures "
Job 12:10
 

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