TOOTHED or TOOTHLESS (BALEEN): Toothed
FRESHWATER, SALTERWATER or BRACKISH: Saltwater and freshwater
HABITAT: Along the coast of western Africa, in rivers, lakes, estuaries and lagoons.
LENGTH (maximum): 10-11 Ft
WEIGHT (maximum): 3,000 lbs
RELATIVE SPECIES: Amazonian manatee, west indian manatee.
OTHER NAMES: mami-wata
NEIGHBORING SPECIES: Atlantic hump-back dolphin, bottlenose dolphin.
THREATS: Killed for meat and oil. Habitat degradation. Trapped in shallow lakes. Trapped in turbines of damns.
DIET: Seagrass and other water plants.
MANNER OF FEEDING: Sometimes eat fish, fruit and rice plants. Usually consumes submerged plants in murky waters. When trapped in a shallow lake, they have been known to eat algae and clay just to stay alive.
BEHAVIOR: Usually solitary, may form small groups when sleeping, feeding and breeding. Slow moving. Will rest during the day and feed at night.
REPRODUCTION: When a female is ready to mate, she will be surrounded by a group of males that will compete to mate with her. Gestation lasts around 12 months. Calves stay with their mothers for a year or more. Females give birth during rainy seasons when the water is high and there is more food.
LIFE SPAN: 60 years
- Many stories and myths about mermaids are actually about the manatee.
- Has fingernails on its flippers.
- Knopf, Alfred A. Guide to Marine Mammals of the World.Random House. 2002