West Indian Manatee Animal Facts
- Length: 2.5-3cm
- Weight: up to 1.6 tonne
- Social unit: Variable
- Status: Vulnerable
The animal manatee known of the 3 manatee species (the other 2 being the Amazonian and West African), the West Indian manatee animal lives along shallow shores and estuaries, and in nearby rivers and freshwater lagoons.
Groups of up to 20 swell to 100 or more where food is plentiful; however, there is little cohesion, and individuals come and go, ranging widely.
Reproduction is similar to the dugong’s (see left), although the manatee is polygynous. Feeding occurs from the surface to about 4m (13 ft).
The manatee holds food with its flippers, and directs it into the mouth using its flexible lips. Daily food intake is up to a quarter of its body weight, and may include a few fish (for protein).