Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Species Account/Trichechus manatus

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Trichechus manatus (West Indian Manatee)

Where found: As its name implies, the West Indian Manatee lives in the West Indies, generally in shallow coastal areas. However, it is known to withstand large changes in water salinity, and so have also been found in shallow rivers and estuaries. It is limited to the tropics and sub-tropics due to an extremely low metabolic rate and lack of a thick layer of insulating body fat. During summer, these large mammals have even been found as far north as Rhode Island.

Description: The West Indian Manatee is a manatee, and the largest surviving member of the aquatic mammal order Sirenia. The West Indian Manatee is surprisingly agile in water, and individuals have been seen doing rolls, somersaults, and even swimming upside-down. Manatees are not territorial and do not have complex predator avoidance behavior, as they live in areas without natural predators.


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