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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Amazonian Manatee Facts You’ll Never Forget

Amazonian Manatee facts, such as they are related to elephants, are very interesting

The smallest of the three surviving species of manatee, Amazonian Manatee calls the Amazon Basin in Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador its home. The other two species are West Indian Manatees (North American Manatees) and West African Manatees. West African Manatees live in Africa's western region (Senegal to Angola). Jaguars, caimans, crocodiles, and sharks are the main Amazonian Manatee predators. Important to note that the Amazonian Manatee are endangered. It's humans who are responsible for its Endangered species status. Even in protected zones, they are still hunted mercilessly. The last chance to see Amazonian Manatee if you are taking a trip along the Amazon river basin in South America is now. Amazonian Manatees, in fact, all manatees, play a very important role in sustaining a healthy ecosystem. They consume seagrass in abundance. This helps to keep the grass short, thus aiding the health of seagrass beds. Read on to discover facts about these amazing animals. If you find this article interesting, you may also want to check out Greenland dog facts and dusky dolphin facts.

Amazonian Manatee Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Amazonian Manatee?

The Amazonian Manatee Trichechus inunguis is a member of the manatee family with thin, wrinkled gray/brownish skin.

What class of animal does an Amazonian Manatee belong to?

The Amazonian Manatee Trichechus inunguis belong to the Mammalia class.

How many Amazonian Manatees are there in the world?

Amazonian Manatee population numbers are currently undetermined. The population count of this endangered species in 1977 was around 10,000. It is difficult to see them in murky waters, making it difficult to get accurate population numbers. Their population status is decreasing as a result of pollution and overhunting.

Where does an Amazonian Manatee live?

Amazonian Manatees live in the Amazon Basin. Part of South America, the Amazon Basin is home to a large number of aquatic and semi-aquatic species. The totally aquatic Amazonian Manatee exclusively lives in freshwater habitat. Amazon Basin in Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia is where you'll find Amazonian Manatees. They prefer backwater lakes, oxbows, and lagoons where there is abundant aquatic vegetation.

What is an Amazonian Manatee's habitat?

Amazonian Manatee habitat is the tropical rainforest. The Amazon river with abundant aquatic vegetation is an ideal environment for this fully aquatic species that never leaves the water. Manatees, in general, are found from the mouth of the Amazon river. Amazonian Manatees are seasonal movers, moving during the dry season and wet season. During the wet season, they move from the flooded areas. During the dry season, they move to deep-water bodies.

Who do Amazonian Manatees live with?

Amazonian Manatees live in groups of four to eight. Some of them also live alone. They also share space with other species that live in freshwater, like frogs, snails, turtles.

How long does an Amazonian Manatee live?

Amazonian Manatees in the wild have a lifespan of around 30 years. An Amazonian Manatee in captivity has a lifespan of only 12 or 13 years.

How do they reproduce?

Amazonian Manatee mating behavior has been found to be polyandry. A seasonal breeder, the gestational period of this species is 12-14 months. Between December and July are when most birthing takes place.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Amazonian Manatee is VU (Vulnerable). The biggest threat to their population is illegal hunting. Pollution is another factor that's making them an endangered species. Amazonian Manatee health gets deteriorated due to pollution. One of the biggest threats to the Amazon Basin's aquatic ecosystem is mining activities, specifically the haphazard release of mercury. Deforestation is another one, which causes soil erosion, resulting in the degradation of vegetation.

Because of their docile and slow-moving nature, Amazonian Manatees are vulnerable to several perilous situations. Even if they are provoked, they won't attack; they just try to swim away. Hence, it is very easy to hunt them. Their meat, fat, and skin are highly sought-after for cooking and making medicines. Well over 100,000 Amazonian Manatees were hunted and killed between 1935 and 1954. Harpoon is the weapon that hunters usually use to hunt them. In 1973, a law was passed that prohibited the hunting of this species. However, between 2011 and 2015, around 200 manatees were hunted and killed in Brazil. The fact that around 450 Amazonian Manatees were hunted and killed between 2004 and 2014 right in a protected area shows that if they are not protected actively by implementing the law harshly, the Amazon Rainforest will have to add one more species to its long list of extinct species.

There are many efforts underway to counter the declining population of Amazonian Manatees. In 2019,  INPA (National Amazonian Research Institute), as part of its 'Reintroduction Program', released 12 Amazonian Manatees into the wild. The aim of the program is to increase the number of Amazonian Manatees. INPA has also been actively training the fishermen in the region to protect this species. One of the ways they get injured is by getting caught in fishing nets.

Amazonian Manatee Fun Facts

What do Amazonian Manatee look like?

It's a hippo...it's a seal...it's an Amazonian Manatee! Yes, a curious combination of a hippo and a seal is how you'd describe an Amazonian Manatee when you first see it. Its cylindrically-shaped body has scattered fine hairs. Its gray/brownish wrinkled skin has a rubbery texture. Its flexible flippers aids in motion and eating food. The rear of the body features a paddle, flat and horizontal. The majority of this species has a white patch on the chest. Amazonian Manatees have polyphyodont teeth.

Similar in behavior and appearance, Dugong is a close relative of Manatees. If you are looking for dugong vs manatee points, then the obvious one would be their tails. Dugong's tail is fluked, whereas a Manatee's is paddle-shaped, horizontal. The bodyweight of a dugong is slightly less compared to that of a manatee.

Amazonian Manatees are quite the chatterboxes.

How cute are they?

Amazonian Manatees have that cuteness that comes with peaceful mammals. They are docile and slow-moving. They are one of the peaceful species that could be found in the Amazon river basin. And they hug each other using their flippers, which is downright cute, right?

How do they communicate?

The general assumption is that manatees communicate using acoustic signals. The only two manatee species known to vocalize are the Amazonian Manatee and the West Indian Manatee, also known as North American Manatee, specifically the Florida Manatee. The vocalization is prominent between a cow and its calf.

How big is an Amazonian Manatee?

The average length of Amazonian Manatees is noted between 90-105 in (230-267 cm), almost twice the size of a dolphin.

How fast can an Amazonian Manatee swim?

An Amazonian Manatee can swim 3-5 mph fast.

How much does an Amazonian Manatee weigh?

The average weight of Amazonian Manatees is calculated at 749-837 lb (340-380kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

A female Amazonian Manatee is called a cow and a male Amazonian Manatee is called a bull.

What would you call a baby Amazonian Manatee?

A baby Amazonian Manatee is called a calf.

What do they eat?

Amazonian Manatee diet consists of freshwater vegetation, mainly water lettuce, and hyacinth.

Are they poisonous?

No, this manatee species is not poisonous. Also, they cannot use their teeth to attack because of the shape of their snout.

Would they make a good pet?

No, this manatee family member is an endangered species.

Did you know...

An Amazonian Manatee can consume as much as 8% of its bodyweight of vegetation in a single day. Their molar teeth are constantly replaced, a unique trait amongst all mammals, which is a natural adaptation to their abrasive vegetation diet.

Other animals in their habitat

Amazonian Manatees are pure vegetarians, their food being only aquatic vegetation. This species of manatee is also very docile. Hence, they are not a threat to any other freshwater living beings. Turtles, bass, small sharks, frogs, snails all share space with this gentle species.

Other physical characteristics

Amazonian Manatees have excellent eyesight and hearing capacity, despite them having very small eyes and no outer ear structure. One of the interesting features of an Amazonian Manatee is its whiskers present all over its snout. These sensory whiskers enable it to detect even the slightest of pressure. This helps them in many situations.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Blue Picardy Spaniel, or White Swiss Shepherds.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Amazonian Manatee coloring pages.

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