Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer with over 50 years work within zoos.
Manatee Appreciation Day
The fourth Wednesday of March is Manatee Appreciation Day. In 2022 this takes places on the 30th March. The Manatee is in trouble and this wonderful, harmless marine mammal needs our consideration and care.
In the Florida area pollutants are killing off the seagrass, the primary food source for these large harmless mammals. 2021 saw over 1,100 animals die and between January and March 11 2022 there have been 420 reported deaths.
There are three species of Manatee;
West Indian Manatee Trichechus manatus: Found along the US coast ranging down from Florida to Mexico and Brazil and in and around the Caribbean islands .
Amazonian Trichechus inunguis: Lives in the Amazon River. Stays exclusively in fresh water.
African Manatee Trichechus senegalensis: Found along the West African coast inhabiting both fresh and salt water.
Some Manatee Facts
- Manatees are vegetarian feeding on seagrass and other plant life.
- The exception is the African Manatee which will sometimes eat some fish.
- Manatees are distantly related to the elephant.
- The oldest known Manatee was a captive animal named 'Snooty' who died aged 69! The death was accidental so he could possibly have lived a number more years.
- It is believed that Manatees as per legend, were the first mermaids.
- Manatees never leave the water.
- They are mammals and suckle their young.
- They may reach as long as fourteen feet and weigh up to three thousand pounds.
- They are the largest marine herbivore.
- Manatees have the smallest mammalian brain in relation to body size.