• The manatee (Trichechus manatus) is a marine mammal native to tropical wetlands of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the southern Atlantic coast of the United States, and northern South America.
  • Manatees are mostly herbivores, although they have been known to eat fish and small crustaceans.
  • Some scientists say that a manatee's whiskers, or vibrissae, are as sensitive as human fingertips. Vibrissae help manatees navigate the muddy wetlands where they live.
  • Manatees are about 1.2 meters (4 feet) long and weigh about 27 kilograms (60 pounds) at birth, and can grow to be 4 meters (13 feet) long and weigh more than 1,360 kilograms (3,000 pounds).
  • One of the manatee's closest terrestrial (land-loving) relatives is the elephant. They both have tough skin, bristly body hair, flat teeth that are continually being replaced, and "toenails" on each forelimb.
  • Female manatees often grow larger than males. Their greater size helps them support manatee calves.
Noun

organism that eats mainly plants and other producers.

manatee
Noun

threatened marine mammal native to the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

vibrissae
Plural Noun

whiskers.

Noun

area of land covered by shallow water or saturated by water.