The manatee popularly called the sea cow is any of the species of large
water animals in the genus Trichechus. There are three species of manatee with T.
inunguis found in the Amazon and Orinoco river systems; T. manatus is found in
central Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coasts; and T.
senegalenis found in the rivers of tropical West Africa. A manatee is a slow
moving, seal shaped mammal that lives in shallow coastal waters where rich plant
grows. It usually is at home in salt or fresh water but rarely straying far
from home.

A manatee is grayish-black stout thick skinned animals and almost
hairless. Its corpulent body tapers to a horizontally flattened, round tail.
The fore limbs are set close to itís head and are used to push algae, such as
seaweed and other water plants toward their mouths. They have a small head,
with a straight snout and cleft upper lip with bristly hairs. Adults can grow
up to 15ft (4.6 meters) but they usually only grow to about 10 feet. They weigh
an average of 1300 pounds.

Manatees live in small family groups sometimes up to herds of 15-20.
After a gestation of up to 6 months, usually a single pinkish calf is born.
Manatees ferquently communicate by muzzle to muzzle contact and when alarmed
they emit chripy squeaks.

The number of manatees has been reduced over the past several years due
to heavy hunting for their hides, meat, and blubber oil. Some governments,
including the United States, have placed the manatees under the endangered
species list. One practical reason for this is that they have proved useful in
clearin girrigation and transport channels clogged with aquatic plant life.
There has also been an increase in manatee death due to passing boats that speed
through channels.

If we all do not help protect these sea cows today then they will not be
around for future generations to enjoy. Everyone must do their part in
protecting these mammals of they ocean. If we do not help save their dying
species who will?

Category: Science