Manatees are a large, gray aquatic mammals often referred to as sea cows. The average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs 800-1200 pounds. They live in fresh, brackish, and saltwater.
Where to find manatees
They can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, and coastal areas. So don’t be surprised if one swims by you in the water at the beach. They are migratory. They generally congregate in Florida during the winter taking advantage of Florida’s warmer water temperatures. Even then during the coldest temperatures, you will find them concentrated in the warmer waters such as near power plant discharges.
How they Breathe
These mammals must surface to breathe. They generally come up to breathe every 3-5 minutes, but can surface every 30 second if they are expending energy. Resting manatees have been know to stay submerged for up to 20 minutes.
What do they Eat
These gentle giants are herbivores. This means they only eat plants, no meat. They eat floating, submerged and emergent plants. So you don’t have to worry about a hungry manatee eating you!
How do they sleep
Technically they don’t sleep like humans do. They actually rest. They can’t really go into a deep sleep because they must be alert enough to surface to breathe about every 20 minutes. This requires a wakeful state and motor function to do so.
The best way to observe manatees is from a kayak. Let us take you on a kayak tour to view these gentle giants in there nature habitat at Emerson Point Preserve in Palmetto, FL. Manatees frequent the are March through December but are more common May through October when the water is warmer.
Learn more about these aquatic giants and see how you can help save them at savethemanatee.org.