What are the Three Different Types of Manatees?

Manatee Floating Underwater

Are you fond of manatees?

These sea giants are popular for their distinguishable appearance. Most will recognize these creatures as gray, round, and stout with thick whiskers. The gentle giants are shy and prefer to spend most of their time in the water.

Their most unique traits are their flat and rounded tail, which helps them propel forward. Manatees are often found along the tropical and subtropical Atlantic coasts. Some species roam along the Niger and Amazon rivers.

Want to learn more about sea cows? Did you know there were three types of manatees? Read on to discover the 3 different types of manatees!

1. West Indian Manatee

Also known as Trichechus manatus, the West Indian Manatee is the biggest kind. This Sirenian can grow up to 13 feet and weigh 3,300 pounds. You can find this manatee along the Southeastern US regions.

You may also spot one along the Caribbean, South America, and in the Gulf of Mexico. There are two subspecies of the Indian Manatee. These are the Antillean Manatee and the Florida Manatee.

Antillean Manatee

The Antillean Manatee makes its home in Central America and the Caribbean. They are close relatives to Florida Manatees but are much smaller. Antillean manatees often grow up to only 9-10 feet in length and weigh 1,000 pounds.

Antillean Manatees are slow in nature. They spend most of their day grazing on seagrass.

Florida Manatee

Florida Manatees are the most recognized group of the species. You can find them along the coasts of the Southeast and the Gulf of Mexico. Manatees in Florida often gather around the Crystal River springs.

If you want to catch a glimpse of the Florida Manatee, go in the winter when they seek warmer waters. They have longer bodies than the Antillean Manatee.

2. Amazonian Manatee

The Amazonian Manatee is the smallest of its kind, found along the Amazon rivers. Also known as the Trichechus inunguis, this manatee weighs about 1,100 pounds and is only 9-10 feet long.

This is the only species of the manatee family that lives in freshwater bodies. The Amazonian Manatee never moves into bodies of saltwater. The Amazonian Manatee is the only manatee with smooth skin and no nails.

3. West African Manatee

Another name for the West African Manatee is Trichechus senegalensis. These manatees reside in coastal areas, found in both freshwater and saltwater. You can find them in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of Western Africa.

The West African Manatee can grow up to 10-13 feet, making it bigger than the Amazonian Manatee. They can also weigh up to 1,100 pounds. The West African Manatee shares some similarities with the West Indian Manatee.

However, the West African Manatee has a blunter snout than its cousins. These manatees often feed on shellfish and small fishes.

A Definitive Guide to the Different Types of Manatees

What are the different types of manatees? These are the Amazonian Manatees, West Indian Manatees, and the West African Manatees. These loveable sea cows keep the ecosystem in balance by feeding on plant life.

However, these aquatic mammals are in danger of extinction. Want to know how you can help? Contact us today and donate to our cause!


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