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Are there different species of manatees?

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Are there different species of manatees?.

Manatees are the humblest large aquatic creatures on our planet. These marine mammals, which are largely herbivorous, are fondly called “sea cows.” Measuring up to 13 feet and weighing as much as 1,300 lbs, the manatees move underwater with the help of paddle-like flippers. Their diet consists of over 60 types of freshwater and saltwater plants. In a single day, an adult manatee can eat up to 10-15% of its body weight within seven hours. They are quite intelligent, have good long-term memory, and display task-learning skills that are similar to those of seals and dolphins. Manatees can be classified into three major species: the West Indian manatee, the West African manatee and the Amazonian manatee.

The West Indian manatee is further sub-classified into two subspecies: the Florida manatee and the Caribbean manatee, with the Florida manatee being the most popular for tours. It can quickly adapt to the abrupt salinity shifts in the estuary. Every year, tourists visit Florida to take manatee tours and witness the congregation of sea cows who are so gentle that divers can touch them and feel their smooth whiskers during snorkelling tours. Children love the cute young manatees because they are friendly and approach every person who comes their way with curiosity.

African manatees live in the estuarine, marine and freshwater habitats along the west coast of Africa from Senegal to Angola. They can be found in the Senegal, Kwanza and Niger rivers. Unlike other species, they are nocturnal and sleep during the daytime. Sharks and crocodiles are their predators.
Amazonian manatees are found in the freshwater habitats of the Amazon Basin in Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. They are the smallest among the three species and have thin, wrinkled skin and a white or pink patch in the breast area.

In recent years, these amazing creatures have become endangered for reasons related to human behavior such as habitat destruction, as well as for natural reasons like disease and adverse temperature. Their slow movement also results in collisions with propeller-boats and ships leading to severe injury or death.

Captain Mike's 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, or call us at (352) 571-1888.