West Indian manatee

Largest of the sirenians, divided into two subspecies, the Florida manatee in the US and the Antillean manatee in the Caribbean

NaluPhoto

Sea cow is a sweet pet name given to these giant manatees reflecting their somewhat physical resemblance with cows. It is delightful to spot this animal swimming on its back with an exposed snout and flippers. They often hang out in large groups (up to 100 individuals) or could go en route on solo adventures. Cold water forces them to migrate towards warmer regions, especially when the sea water temperature falls below 18°C. Moreover, naturally warm water springs or power plant lagoons serve as refugia against cold water.

The downward muzzle helps them to snip and devour aquatic plants like seagrasses and water hyacinths. They might prefer to add small fish to their plates on special occasions. Each flipper has three to four fingernails that help them stand out among other related species.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Anguilla
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Antigua & Barbuda
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Aruba
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Bahamas
2008
Barbados
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Belize
2008
Bonaire
Official estimate
EX
Brazil
2008
British Virgin Is.
2008
Cayman Islands
2008
Colombia
2008
Costa Rica
2008
Cuba
2008
Curaçao
2008
Dominica
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Dominican Republic
2008
French Guiana
2008
Grenada
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Guadeloupe
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Guatemala
2008
Guyana
2008
Haiti
2008
Presence Uncertain
Honduras
2008
Jamaica
2008
Martinique
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Mexico
2008
Montserrat
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Nicaragua
2008
Panama
2008
Puerto Rico
2008
Saint Barthélemy
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Saint Lucia
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Saint Martin
Official estimate
EX
French Part
Saint Vincent
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Sint Maarten
Official estimate
EX
Dutch Part
St. Kitts & Nevis
Official estimate
EX
Extinct locally
Suriname
2008
Trinidad & Tobago
2008
Turks & Caicos
2008
Possibly Extinct
US Virgin Islands
2008
United States
2008
Venezuela
2008

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No