Answers From the Manatee Expert
Special thanks to Nancy Sadusky, Save the Manatee Club, for providing her
time and expertise in responding to your questions.
A. Actually, manatees can turn their whole body by using their flippers.
Q. Is the manatee a relative to any other animal? From Lori Yang
A. The manatee's closest land relatives are the elephant and a small rat-like creature called a hydrax. West Indian manatees (found in Florida) are also related to West African manatees, Amazonian manatees, and dugongs.
Q. How fast can a manatee swim?
A. On average, most manatees swim about 3 to 5 miles per hour. However, they have been known to swim up to 20 miles per hour in short bursts.
Q. How long do they live? From Kyle Decker
A. Researchers believe that manatees can live 60 years or more.
Q. What do you think is the most fascinating thing you have uncovered about the manatee since you have been researching this creature ?
A. Two things are very interesting about manatees:
Creek Valley Elementary School
Q. Did mantees walk on land long ago? From Michael
A. Scientists believe that manatees evolved from a wading, plant-eating animal.
Scott Young Public School
Q. What's the largest number of babies a manatee has ever had? From Sarah, Emily & Stephanie
A. Scientists believe that only one manatee calf is born every two to five years, twins are rare.
Q. What's the oldest a manatee has ever lived? From Sarah, Emily & Stephanie
A. A manatee named Snooty is now over 50 years old.
Q. How do they mate? From Sarah, Emily & Stephanie
A. Manatees do not form permanent pair bonds. During breeding, a single female will be followed by a group of a dozen or more males, forming what is called a mating herd. They appear to breed at random during this time. Breeding and birth may occur at any time during the year, but there appears to be a slight spring calving peak.
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