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Manatee Facts for Kids

This page will help you learn more about manatees.

Learn where manatees live.

Where do manatees live?

Manatees live in shallow, calm rivers, estuaries, bays, canals and coastal areas. Manatees can travel from fresh to salt water without any problems. The Florida manatee is found most of its time in Florida but can travel as far north as Virginia.

Learn what manatees eat.

What do manatees eat?

Manatees are herbivores, which means they eat only plants. This means that they do not eat any fish or crustaceans. Manatees eat mainly sea grass found on the ocean floor. To get down to the bottom easier, manatees have solid bones that help make them heavier.

Learn about manatee size.

How big are manatees?

When manatees are born, they are about 4 feet long and weigh 60-70 pounds. Full-grown manatees can be up to 13feet long and weigh up to 3,500 pounds!

Learn about manatee relatives.

Do manatees have any relatives?

Manatees are distant relatives of elephants and share some similar traits. Both manatees and elephants have a trunk, tough skin, bristle-like hair covering their body, teeth that are always replaced and “toe” nails on their feet/flippers.

Learn how long a manatee can hold its breath.

How long can a manatee hold its breath?

Manatees can hold their breath for about 20minutes, however they regularly breathe every few minutes.

Learn why algae grows on manatees.

Why does algae grow on manatees?

Manatees are slow moving and spend a lot of time at the water’s surface. Algae grows in wet areas with lots of sunlight, so a manatee’s skin is a great place for algae to live. Manatees do not seem to mind and the algae may help block out harmful rays from the sun.

Our Mission - Through education, research and rescue, Dolphin Research Center promotes peaceful coexistence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals, humans and the environment we share with the well being of DRC's animals taking precedence.
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