7 Fun Facts about Manatees

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Manatees are large, lazy, plant-eating aquatic mammals that usually hang out in rivers and coastal areas where they can easily be seen by the visitors. They are cute, cuddly and non-aggressive in nature. There are three species of manatees: Amazonian, African and West Indian manatees. The African and West Indian manatees live in fresh and warm salt waters in rivers and along coastal areas, while Amazonian manatees only live and thrive in fresh-water swamps, rivers and wetlands.

Seven Fun Facts About Manatees.

1. Amazing size

Often referred to as “sea cows,” manatees are large marine mammals, generally about 10 feet long and weighing between 800 and 1,200 pounds.

2. Typical herbivores

Manatees are herbivores, which means they only feed on plants. They are usually found in shallow rivers and coastal areas where they feed on mangrove leaves, sea grass and algae.

3. Hours of feeding

Just like cows, manatees spend 6-8 hours every day grazing, consuming aquatic vegetation that can amount to around 50 kilograms daily. Manatees eat up to 10 percent of their body weight in plant mass each day. And like cows, manatees produce a lot of gas to help them digest all the plants they consume. It is the gas that makes them appear round like a balloon.

4. Great vision

Manatees are not only curious by nature, they also have great vision. They can distinguish objects of different sizes, colors and patterns and tend to spend time on the waterways trying to discern various objects. But they also possess a “nictitating membrane” that they can draw across the eyeball for protection.

5. Nostril breathing

Manatees have nostrils and breathe in oxygen. As they swim, they keep their nostrils closed to block out water while poking their heads above the surface every 3-5 minutes to breathe. But manatees can remain submerged underwater for up to 20 minutes.

6. Prolonged nursing of calves

A female manatee usually gives birth to one calf every 2-5 years. The calf stays with the mother and is nursed for 2 years. A calf is nursed from under a mother’s teats, which are found at the point where the forward limbs meet the body.

7. Long lifespan

Without natural predators, habitat incursions and boat encounters that may affect their lives, manatees can live for as long as 60 years or more.

Are you ready to swim with the manatees? Visit the site, Swimming With The Manatees, for help in planning and going out to swim with these gentle creatures. At Captain Mike’s swimming with the manatees, you are guaranteed a thrilling and memorable experience.


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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