Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fun Manatee Facts and How You Can Save Them

Would you believe that manatees closest relatives are elephants and hyraxes? That's right manatees are though to have evolved from 4-legged land animals over 60 million years ago.

Manatees are also sometimes called sea cows but despite their slow movements they have a lot going on - their intelligence, learning ability and long term memory is similar to that of dolphins!

Did you know that manatees have bones in their flippers that are similar to the human hand? These bones enable the manatee to move through the water, bring food to their mouth and hold objects. They even have "finger" nails on each flipper.

Look closely at the photo. Notice anything missing? Manatees don't have eye lashes!

Why Manatees Need Our Help
Manatees are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN and endangered by the Endangered Species Act. The leading cause of death for these gentle giants is boats - either by propeller or hull, both of which result in serious if not fatal wounds. Most manatees have scars on their back which scientists use to identify individuals. Global warming, which leads to toxic algae blooms and loss of coastal and fresh water habitat and degradation of their habitat are also threats to the manatee. Sources: Manatee Fun Facts, Florida Manatee

Help Save Manatees

Manatee photo courtesty of: windy234