Amazonian manatee

The unique aspect observed in the species is that they can see or visualize underwater to navigate or avoid obstacles

FernandoPodolski

These serene creatures, known for their elusive nature, steer clear of oceanic waters, preferring the calm and sheltered environments provided by their freshwater habitats. Their activity patterns are intriguingly flexible, oscillating between diurnal and nocturnal behaviors based on various factors, possibly including food availability, temperature, and human activity levels.

Remarkably, Amazonian manatees have evolved to consume about 8% of their body weight in aquatic vegetation daily. This substantial intake is crucial, as the food they consume is converted into fat reserves. These reserves are not merely for buoyancy; they are a critical survival mechanism that sees the manatee through the extended dry seasons when food sources become scarce. This ability to store energy efficiently underscores the manatee’s adaptation to the cyclical flood patterns of the Amazon, where water levels and food availability can vary dramatically.

The body of the Amazonian manatee is a marvel of evolution, covered in fine hairs that play a role in their sensory perception, allowing them to navigate the murky waters of their environment. The upper and lower lips are adorned with thick bristles, giving the appearance of mustaches or beards. These bristles are not just for show; they are highly sensitive and assist in the manipulation and selection of food, adding a tactile dimension to their feeding habits.

Breathing is a deliberate and necessary action for these aquatic mammals, who must regularly surface to inhale oxygen. However, the Amazonian manatee exhibits a remarkable capacity to hold its breath, remaining submerged and asleep for up to 25 minutes before needing to surface. This ability minimizes their vulnerability to predators and human threats, allowing them to rest undisturbed beneath the water’s surface.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Brazil
2016
Colombia
2016
Ecuador
2016
Guyana
2016
Presence Uncertain
Peru
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Group

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No