Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Mammals » Manatees: Trichechidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, West Indian Manatee (trichechus Manatus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, MANATEES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Manatees: Trichechidae - Behavior And Reproduction

waters calf warmer time

Manatees are semi-social and usually found in mother-calf pairs. They communicate using sound, sight, taste, and touch. Communication is particularly important for developing and maintaining the cow-calf bond.

Manatees are polygamous (puh-LIH-guh-mus), having more than one mate. In fact, a female can be pursued by as many as twenty males during the breeding season, so it is virtually impossible to determine who the father of a calf is. Males do not seem to take part in caring for the young.

Female manatees give birth every two-and-a-half to three years. Usually only one calf is born after a year-long pregnancy. Depending on the species, manatees are ready to breed anywhere between the ages of two to eleven, and they do so throughout the year. Calves are born weighing 60 to 70 pounds (27 to 32 kilograms).

Manatees are unable to hold their breath for long periods of time, so they surface for air about every three minutes except during sleep, at which time they can rest for twenty minutes before surfacing. Manatees have no large predator, animal that hunts them for food, other than humans.


Water colder than 68°F (20°C) can lead to sicknesses, such as pneumonia, in manatees. The colder waters make it harder for the manatees to get proper nutrients, so they are more likely to get sick. That is why they migrate to warmer waters in Florida during the winter, but even those waters can get too cold.

The waters surrounding Florida's power plants are warmer and 60 percent of manatees now spend time there. Scientists are worried because some of these power plants are getting too old and must be closed, and without the warmer waters more manatees may die as a result of illness.

Manatees: Trichechidae - West Indian Manatee (trichechus Manatus): Species Account [next] [back] Manatees: Trichechidae - Physical Characteristics

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