Manatees are a highly talked about animal in our society today due to the fact that they love to reside in shallow waters along the coast of Florida, thus exposing the top of their bodies to possibly getting hit by boaters. This has sparked a heated debate as to what actions should and shouldn't be taken to protect the West Indian Manatee.
Manatees are unique among marine animals because they reside in both fresh water and salt water. It seems as though they prefer rivers with true grasses, or calm environments where there are many sea grasses to eat and accessible sources of fresh water.
All manatees have a broad back, no dorsal fin, and a small head. Their body color is gray but since they are always residing around areas with and eating a lot of algae and grasses, they may appear to be brownish, reddish, whitish, or blackish because these algae and grasses have began to grow on them. Their skin is rough, thick, and toughened. A large part of these physical features is due to the consistent crashes manatees have with recreational boaters. Females also tend to be a little bigger than males.
The Florida manatee inhabits coasts, estuaries, and major rivers of Florida pretty much all year. When the weather warms up they can range as far north as Rhode Island and as far west to the Gulf Coast past Louisiana. During the winter they reside in Florida seeking comfort in the warm water or near industrial facilities that discharge heat into the water. Another type of manatee called the Antillean manatee resides in Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and also along the Atlantic coast and up rivers of Central and South America, south to Brazil. These animals different from the Florida manatee will visit offshore freshwater springs, in order to probably drink. Now I would like to talk about the longevity and reproduction of the manatee. Manatees live for about 50 to 60 years barring the ever rapidly growing amount of them that are illegally...
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