A Florida Manatee
The Florida Manatee
Photo credit: USGS


The Endangered Mammals of Florida



The Florida Manatee
Trichechus manatus latirostris


A Manatee Alert!
If you are about to choose a new License
plate for your Florida vehicle, please
consider choosing the Manatee plate.
They are being chosen less and less and
are in serious danger of being removed
from the list of our Florida plates.
This will in turn mean that a great deal
of the money that has been coming in for
Manatee protection, will cease to exist.
This is not a good thing.
Please think about these very Endangered
animals and what our world would be like,
if they were no longer in it.
Please choose a Manatee License Plate
and then tell a friend.~


Florida Manatees, which are shaped somewhat like a seal,

have two flipper arms, thick greyish skin

and whiskers on their upper lip.


Their length is about 10 feet and they weigh nearly 1,000 pounds.

The Manatees closest ancestor is the elephant and their habitats

are slow moving shallow waters, like the St. John's River and canals,

salt water bays, estuaries and coastal areas abundant with seagrass.


Manatees eat aquatic plants and can consume

as much as 10-15 % of their body weight daily.

In the summer, the Manatees will travel as far

north as Virginia and as far west as Alabama.


They remain in Florida in the winter because of the many warm

spring fed waters found there that they need to survive.

The warm water around Nuclear power plants has attracted them,

the possible negative affect of this on them remains to be seen.

The Manatee are completely defenseless, shy, reclusive and harmless.

Manatees headed for a disaster
Manatees headed for a disaster
Photo credit: USGS

This gentle giant has been at the center of controversy for many years

but, unless a great deal more is done to preserve them,

the Manatee will soon go the way of the Dodo bird.

Each year many of them are killed or maimed by

recreational boaters who race through Florida Waterways,

ignoring warning signs in the areas where the Manatee live.


Much has been done in the past to attempt to protect them,

but the purse strings of the boating community are very deep

and they are not pleased with the Manatee zone speed signs

that have been put in many of Florida's waterways.


One of my fondest memories is of a day that my

children and I spent in the water with them at

Blue Springs State Park many, many years ago.

The Manatees seemed as curious about us as we were

of them, gently touching and nudging us in the water.

This human contact has since been discontinued

to protect the health of the Manatee.

Manatee Mother and Calf
A Manatee Mother and Calf
Photo credit: USGS


These sweet, curious creatures whose only enemy is man,

have been, like so many others animals,

crowded out of their natural habitats.

Now the Manatee are dependent upon us for their well being,

and we must be their guardians, because

we have left them with little other choice.


Places to learn more:

Defenders of Wildlife

Florida Manatee


Florida Environment Radio

Fast Boats and the Endangered Manatees


Florida Power and Light

Manatee Overview



West Indian Manatee



The Magnificent Manatee


Marine Mammal Center

West Indian Manatee


National Geographic

Manatees - For Kids

Manatees - For Grown ups



Florida's Fountain of Youth


University of Florida

Manatee Use Hair as Underwater Antennas








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Educating Visitors About Florida's Wildlife Since June 01, 2008

Last edited September 11, 2022

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