Manatee (Trichechus manatus)
West Indian manatees are large, aquatic animals that are gray-brown in color. They have a flat, paddle-shaped tail, 2 flippers and wrinkled faces with whiskers on the snout. The manatee's seal-like body can reach 13-feet in length and can weigh more than 3,000 pounds. Manatees are herbivores (they only eat plants).
Manatees are commonly found in shallow rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals and coastal areas, particularly where seagrass beds are located. Manatees are migratory and concentrate in Florida in the winter.
The West Indian manatee is Florida's official state marine mammal. It is an endangered species. Loss of habitat and human interaction pose the greatest threat to this gentle, slow-moving creature. Most human-related manatee deaths are due to collisions with boats.
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology