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WHAT IS THE MANATEE?


The Manatee is where the legend of mermaids was started. Spanish sailors in Florida were away from their native spain and had not seen women for months or years at a time. When they saw the manatee they became delerious and thought they had seen a mermaid. The greatest threat to manatees are motorboats because they often kill or wound the animal because it is a mammal and needs to breath air just like us. When the Manatee goes up to the surface for air the boats often clip their backs.



There are other reasons that the manatee population numbers have fallen since it's discovery. In the 16th century the American Manatee was hunted to reduced numbers. It's meat, hide, oil and bones were considered very valuable by many people at the time.Many people think that the Manatee is only found in Florida, but that is not true. There are other subspecies of manatee found throughout South America and Africa as well.














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The American manatee occurs in waters that have a salinity ranging from saltwater to freshwater and that have sufficient depth (1.5 m (5') to usually less than 6 m (20')). It may be found in canals, rivers, estuarine habitats, offshore cayes, coastal lagoons and saltwater bays. Individual manatees on occasion have been observed as much as 6 km (3.7 mi) off the Florida Gulf coast and up to 15 km (9.3 mi) off the Guyana coast. The American manatee also seems to prefer water temperatures above about 20 deg C. Although they can endure water as cold as 13.5 deg C.

 

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