Celebrating Manatee Appreciation Day!
Aren’t they cute?
Florida manatees are large, gray aquatic mammals found in the southeastern United States, mostly in — believe it or not — Florida. They sort of look like walruses or seals, even though they aren’t closely related at all.
Florida manatees are a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. Another subspecies of the West Indian manatee is the Antillean manatee, found in the coastal and inland waterways of eastern Mexico, Central America, the Greater Antilles, and along the northern coasts of South America.
Though I’m an enthusiastic naturalist (or nature fan, rather), I am always amazed to find out how much I don’t know about a topic. Since I live 900 miles away from Florida, I can’t really celebrate manatees in person on this, their special day. However, I believe a good way to show appreciation for something is to learn more about them. So, in honor of Manatee Appreciation Day, I watched a video to help me better understand these beautiful creatures, and I highly recommend it to you as well.
Though this video came out in 2007, I checked with the manatee experts, and it’s all still as relevant as it is fascinating. Below the video I listed the 23 most fascinating facts I thought the video had to offer, most of them I already knew, a few of them I didn’t. The video is free on Amazon Prime, and while you’re watching, see if you can find more facts that I missed. I’m sure I missed some…
Happy Manatee Appreciation Day!
1 – Holy sea cow, they’re big!
2 – Manatees are actually related to elephants.
3 – Manatees have “marching molars.” (I did not know this!)
4 – Manatees are hairy — sort of.
5 – They need to breathe oxygen every 3-5 minutes.
6 – The first settlers thought they were mermaids.
7 – They’re vegetarian.
8 – Manatees sleep walk. (I did not know this, either!)
9 – They are playful.
10 – They can die if temperatures dip below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). (Blew my mind!)
11 – Power plants are not their friends. (And it wasn’t for the reason I thought it was!)
12 – They would lose in a game of chicken with a speed boat.
13 – “Chessie” was a very adventurous manatee. (I never knew the whole story!)
14 – Manatees reproduce very slowly.
15 – And they seem to take forever to leave their mother.
16 – Manatees have no natural predators.
17 – They can live for 60 years or more.
18 – Most of their deaths are human related — in more ways than one.
19 – Don’t feed them.
20 – And don’t harass them.
21 – They are classified by the IUCN as endangered.
22 – You can adopt a manatee.
23 – Jimmy Buffett started Save The Manatee Club.