"It's those changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same" - Jimmy Buffet
Hopefully Jimmy Buffet is right...nothing will remain the same and these wonderful aquatic mammals will regain their numbers and our fellow humans will be more careful in the future protecting them and their babies habitats.
These whale-like bodies that taper flat with paddle-shaped tails and two forelimbs, called flippers on their upper body and no hind limbs - make the Manatee a one of a kind creation. The closest relatives are the elephants and hyrax (small gopher-sized mammal). The Manatee has been know to reach over 13 feet, weigh more than 3500 pounds, but on average when they reach 9.8 feet long and weight 800-1200 pounds (still pretty impressive). If you compared the manatee size to that of the typical American, I guess you would assume the Manatees are fat or over weight...quite the contrary...they have very little body fat and are herbivores (plant eaters). This type appetite makes them susceptible to cold waters, which brings them to the warm Florida springs in the winter.
Interesting is that the Manatees lungs and diaphragm extend the length of the body and are oriented in the same horizontal position as the creature in the water. Each lung has its own unique cavity with hemi-diaphragms, allowing the Manatee to separately control the lungs to maintain balance, roll and pitch in the water. This feature allows them to spend the required six to eight hours of feeding slow and controlled for good digestion (so I am guessing) and then allow them the ability to rest for up to twelve hours a day. That is as long as their teeth are healthy, because their teeth are replaced for as long as they live.
Learn more and join us on our next adventure....HEADWATERS trip to Homosassa Florida. Click here for more details.