The Incredible Manatee: Trichechus Manatus

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Zoology

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The Incredible Manatee: Trichechus Manatus

The Incredible Manatee

Physical Description:•Gray skin, and they are often found in water from 3-10 feet deep.•Flippers, tail paddle, 3-4 nails on each flipper•Small, round eyes and wide nostrils•Bristles on its chin•Upper lip is divided•Average is about 10 feet long and weighs about 1000 lbs, may reach 3000

Trichechus Manatus

By Grace Wang

Causes of Endangerment/ Habitat Loss:•People hunt them for their meat•Because they live in rivers, they easily get injured by propellers or collisions with ships and barges, crushed or drowned in canal locks, ingestion of litter, or entanglement in fish traps.•The water is being polluted chemicals, litter, algal blooms, and manmade canals are blocking water passages •They rely on power plants in the winter, and if the power plants stop working, they will freeze.•Loss of sea grass, their only source of food

Unique Adaptations:•Agile, maneuver well underwater and can swim fast in short bursts, but normally swim slow•Tail paddle enable swimming to be easier•They migrate to warmer water when it gets cold•Can remain submerged for as long as 20 minutes•Have a slower heart rate while diving

Trophic Level:•They eat underwater grasses, baby manatees drink milk because they are mammals•They are herbivores•They have no known enemies and don’t prey upon other animals

Environment:•Ecosystem contains underwater grasses, water (fresh or salt), other marine animals•Their habitats include freshwater rivers, lagoons, lakes and backwaters, shallow coastal waters, swampy estuaries, saltwater bays, canals•Biotic factors include underwater grasses•Abiotic factors include Sun, water, oxygen, milk (for young manatees)

Protection of Species:•Manatees can still be found in the wild•West Indian manatees in the United States are protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which make it illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. West Indian manatees are also protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978. The Florida Manatee Recovery Plan was developed as a result of the Endangered Species Act. In 1989, Florida's Governor and Cabinet directed the state’s wildlife agency to work with 13 "key" manatee counties in Florida to reduce injuries and deaths. Other conservation measures to save manatees include: research of biology, mortality, population and distribution, behavior, and habitat of manatees, posting of regulatory speed signs and levying of fines for excess speeds in designated areas; manatee education and public awareness programs; and creation of sanctuaries.


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