This manatee is relaxing near the surface.
Click on image for full size
Windows Original, adapted from Corel Photography
Manatees and the Dugong (sea cows) are the only herbivorous mammals that live in the ocean. Manatees move between seawater and freshwater. For this reason, many manatees are found just floating (hanging out) near the coast. Unfortunately, many manatees have died because boats travel in these waters too. The boat's propellers which hang below the boat can hit the manatee, killing it.
Manatees are really docile, slow moving animals. They don't do the fast swimming and jumping that dolphins do. When they do move, they use their beaver-like tail to paddle through the water.
Manatees must come to the surface to breathe through their nostrils. They then dive with their lungs full of air and can stay submerged for over 20 minutes.
Manatees eat a variety of aquatic plants. Again, manatees will be at the surface when eating, because many plants float in the top layer of the ocean.
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The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
, focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!
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