Florida Manatee--Natural History
They have large, gray seal-like bodies, with two forelimbs or "flippers", a paddle-shaped tail, and a whiskered face and snout that you might see when they swim up to the surface of the water for air. Manatees are actually a close relative of the Elephant!
Manatees are sometimes called "gentle giants", because they are slow and gentle, and adults average about 10 feet long and weigh between 800 to 1,200 pounds. Manatees are herbivores and they maintain their giant size by feeding primarily on seagrass. Lots of seagrass! Manatees eat between 10% to 15% of their body weight each day in plants! How many pounds/kg of food would that be for a 1,000 pound manatee? How many pounds/kg of food would you have to eat to equal 10% to 15% of your body weight?
Despite their size,the Florida Manatees are in danger. Based on the first 1999 aerial census, scientists estimate that there are only about 2,400 West Indian Manatees remaining in Florida, and their future remains uncertain.
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