Manatees, often called ‘sea cows’ for their plant-eating habits (grazing on water plants) and slow and peaceful nature, are large, fully aquatic marine mammals of the tropical seas.

Scientific Name – Trichechus

Classification – Trichechidae

Gender Names – Male – bull; Female – cow; Baby – calf

Collective Noun – Aggregation

Length/Size – 2.8-3.6m (9.2-12ft)

Weight – 400-550kg (800-1,212lbs)

Top Speed – 22km/h (13mph)

Life Expectancy – 50-70 years

Mating Season – Varies between subspecies; typically breed once every two years

Gestation Period – 1 year

Special Features – Wrinkled, thick skin; have got flippers without nails

Social Structure – Solitary life except during the breeding season, when a single female is followed by a group (a dozen or more) of males, forming a “mating herd”.

Geographical Distribution – Eastern hemisphere around subtropical regions like Florida and the Caribbean

Natural Habitat – Warm coastal waters; slow-moving rivers

World Population – Varies between subspecies

Conservation Status – Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Critically Endangered, Endangered

Diet – Sea Grass, Algae, Flowers

Predators – Human, Sharks