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Manatees, also known as sea cows, are large aquatic mammals found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. They have thick, wrinkled skin and paddle-like flippers, and are often mistaken for large seals or sea lions. Manatees are herbivores, eating mostly aquatic plants such as seagrass, algae, and lily pads.
They can grow up to 13 feet in length and weigh up to 1,500 pounds. Manatees are slow-moving and gentle animals, living in warm shallow coastal waters, estuaries, saltwater bays and rivers. They have poor vision and rely on their sensitive whiskers to detect food and other objects in the water. Manatees also have an acute sense of hearing, allowing them to detect underwater sounds.
Manatees are social animals, often traveling in groups and communicating through squeaks, chirps, and whistles. They are also gentle and curious creatures, often approaching boats and people who enter their habitat.
Manatees diet consists mainly of sea grass, algae and aquatic plants. These animals have no natural predators and can live for up to 60 years in the wild.
Manatees are considered to be endangered due to human activities such as boat collisions, entanglement in fishing nets and habitat destruction. Due to their slow movements, manatees are vulnerable to watercrafts collisions, which can cause serious injuries or death. Manatees are also threatened by water pollution and habitat destruction due to human activities such as dredging and development. Manatees are very communal animals and live in small groups. They communicate using a variety of sounds, from squeaks to whistles and grunts.
In the United States, the West Indian Manatee is protected by federal and state laws. Other populations of manatees, such as the Amazonian Manatee, are in much greater danger.
Florida is one of the states highly recognized for having Manatees in its clear waters. There, they are protected by the US Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is also actively involved in restoring critical manatee habitats and encouraging people to observe them from a distance.
Manatees are an important part of many aquatic ecosystems, providing food for other animals and helping maintain healthy seagrass beds. The conservation of manatees is critical to the survival of the species. Protection of their habitats is important to ensure their long-term survival. Public education is also important to promote awareness and understanding of the species.
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