Yes, I haven’t actually done this since February of 2020, but I’m starting it up again and nobody can stop me!
So this year, May’s Animal of the Month is…..the Manatee!
Now Manatees are somewhat Strange Creatures, given that they quite honestly look nothing like any other animal in the sea, with the sole exception of the Dugong, it’s cousins.
They’re solitary herbivores who eat over 60 different freshwater and saltwater plants, and they mainly inhabit the shallows and marshes of rivers in the Caribbean sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Amazon Basin, and West Africa.
Their primary cause of death, unfortunately, is human destruction of their habitat and some human objects, and it’s extremely common for manatees to collect scars from high speed encounters with propellor-driven boats and ships. Their curious nature and slow movements can thus end up causing them harm.
Manatees, sometimes called sea cows, tend to be largely on the larger side of things, weighing from 880 to 1,210 lbs and measuring 9 to 15 ft in length.
A funny quirk of theirs is to use their flexible upper lip not only to gather up food and eat, but to also perform social communication with other manatees, and even sometimes with humans.
The most extraordinary thing about Manatees, however is undoubtedly their ages. A Manatee in the wild can live from fifty to sixty years and there was a manatee in captivity that lived up to 69 years old! For an aquatic creature, and any land animal that isn’t an elephant, that is a unusually long lifespan. Their birth rate, however is extremely low, each female only tending to have one calf every 3 years (every two years, but gestation lasts 12 months), and there’s still the natural young vulnerability and danger to contend with on top of that.
Still, they are essentially the elephants of the sea, having excellent long-term memory and showing cognitive abilities similar to elephants and dolphins.
That’s all for now on May’s Manatee! Bye Ya’ll!