The Unique Anatomy of Manatees

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Manatees are often referred to as sea cows because of their massive size. They can grow up to 1,200 pound each. They have a unique anatomy that makes them completely different from other animals you may see. Many people think they look a lot like seals because of their wide set eyes and how small they are but they are very different in many ways.Manatees only have 6 vertebrates instead of 7 and this means they have less motion. They have to turn their entire body to see what is on the sides of them. They also cannot move their head on its own, because of this deficit in range of motion they don’t seem as graceful as other sea creatures.

Manatees have 2 very valuable components of their body. The first is their flipper. If a manatee is injured in their flipper it would be near impossible for them to survive. They rely on this to grab food, move through the water and hold onto things. These flippers also have sharp nails they allow them to hold onto things. The other key piece if their very small tail. This helps them navigate thought the water and is the most powerful part of their body.

Although manatees look very large, they are full of organs. Their intestines can be up to 147 feet long, and that is only one of the many vital organs inside there. They also have very wrinkled skin. Many people confused this with their age but the truth is they always have wrinkly skin.

So the next time you see a manatee, don’t judge a book by its cover; it might actually be a very young manatee.


Swimming with the Manatees boasts the best water adventure in Crystal River, Florida with lots of things to do for you and your family. For more information, contact us online, or call us at (352) 571-1888.

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