Common Name: Manatees, Sea Cow

Type: Mammal

Family: Trichecidae

Range: The manatees are an animal that is found mainly in warm tropical and subtropical water. Manatees are an endangered and lives Gandoca-Manzanillo National Park and Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica.

Size: Adult Manatees can reach to a length about 8 to 13 ft (2.4 to 4 m) in leangth.

Weight: It can gain to a weight from 440 to 1,300 lbs (200 to 600 kg)

Diet: Manatees are originally herbivore. Their diet includes water grasses, mangrove leave, weeds and various algae but they eat a lot. They can eat ten times more of its own weight during a period of 24 hours.

Average life span: Manatees have an Average life span of 40 years in the wild.

Habitat: The manatees inhabit rivers, canals, bays, estuaries, and at coastal areas that are rich in sea grass and other vegetation. They can also live in fresh, saline (salt), and brackish waters. They move freely between extremes. West Indian manatees may be found in any waterway over 1 m (3.25 ft.) deep and connected to the coast. They prefer waters with temperatures above 21°C (70°F). Florida manatees rarely venture into deep ocean waters. However, manatees have been spotted as far offshore as the Dry Tortuga Islands, approximately 81 kilometers, west of Key West, Florida. West African manatees live in quiet coastal areas, large rivers, lagoons, and connected lakes, where the water temperature is above 18°C (64°F). The Amazonian manatee is limited to fresh water as they get plenty of aquatic plants and a freshwater source of water to drink. The manatees are found on the Caribbean in Costa Rica. They are also available in the national parks of Costa Rica.

Breeding/Reproduction: Male manatees are sexually mature at the age of around 9-10 years. The female manatees are mature at the age of three years. The accurate gestation period of all manatee species are not well-known or the study is inadequate. However, a Florida manatee’s gestation was noted and it is about 12 months. It is noted that one calf is born every 2 – 5 years. Twins are uncommon in the wild. Newborns weigh around 40 pounds at birth and stay with them for several years.

Manatees are a member of the Trichechidae family under the order of Sirenia. They are also commonly known as sea cow because of their big size but fully aquatic nature. These types of species are known to live in the shallow or marshy areas as well as coastal places and rivers in Caribbean and Mexico as well as the Amazon basin and west of Africa. Manatees are sub divided according to where they live. In Costa Rica alone, because of the abundance of marine life, manatees are seen inhabiting their warmer and tropical waters. The Tortuguero National Park and Gandoca-Manzanillo National Park houses the conservation of these endangered species. Despite their bulky…. They are polished swimmers in the rivers and coastal waters. They can move smoothly at 8 kilometers in an hour in a short burst. Manatees are normally lived alone or a smaller group on the surface of the water. Their nose and nostrils are frequently visible. Manatees are always born underwater. The mother helps their calves to bring to the surface to take their first breath, but the reality is that, the infants can naturally swim on their own after an hour.

The three species of Manatees are:

West Indian Manatees or Trichechus manatus are the species of manatees mostly found in the warmer water of Costa Rica. They are mostly grayish or brownish in color. They have this flipper which contains 3 to 4 nails used to grasp their food. The female is mostly larger than the male. They normally have 8 to 11 feet long body as well as they weigh 200 to 600 kilograms. They are known to endure the changes in the salinity of water so with this said they can also be seen in shallow rivers and estuaries. It is believed that this West Indian Manatee is vigorous in water. They can do somersaults; can swim upside down and even seen rolling in the water. As herbivore their main diet consists of sea grasses but they also include some fish and small invertebrates in their sustenance.

Amazonian Manatees or the Trichechus inunguis lives in the freshwater of the Amazon Basin. They are endemic as well in Amazonia, Brazil, Guyana, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. They have the length of almost 9 feet long and they weigh approximately 540 kilograms. They are considered as the smallest of these three species of manatees.
Female are much bigger and longer than the male. Unlike the West Indian Manatee they do not have nails in the end of their flippers.

West African Manatees or Trichechus senegalensis can be found as their name suggest in the western areas of Africa, from Senegal to Angola. They mostly resemble the West Indian manatee rather than the Amazonian manatee. They have wide areas of habitat since they can endure water salinity. They can be found in the freshwater like rivers, lakes, lagoons, also in salt water to brackish waters of Africa. They mostly limit their habitat to warmer and temperate waters. Their physical attributes are grayish colors of the body and normally has almost 13 feet in length and usually weighs 500 kilograms.

Comments are closed.