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K-3 Coloring Printout

Coloring Printout
with Writing Area

EnchantedLearning.com
All About Manatees
Sea Cows
Quiz

Manatees are aquatic mammals that are called sea cows (named this by Georg Wilhelm Steller, because they taste like beef). These plant eaters are slow swimmers; they have two flippers, each of which has three to four nails on the end (there are no external hind limbs). Short whiskers adorn the short, boxy snout. Manatees are closely related to the elephant and the hyrax (a small mammal that looks like a rodent)! Many years ago, there were legends that sailors, seeing manatees from a long distance, thought they were mermaids.

SIZE
The average adult manatee grows to be about 10-12 feet (3-3.6 m) long and weighs about 1,000-1,800 pounds (450-800 kg).

COLOR
When manatees are new-born, they are gray-black. Their skin quickly lightens to gray as they mature. Adults may also have barnacles and/or algae growing on the skin.

BREATHING AND DIVING
Manatees breathe air through nostrils into their two lungs. Although they can stay underwater for up to 20 minutes, they usually surface every 5 minutes. Their nostrils are covered by flaps that close during dives.

LIFE SPAN
The manatee's life span is roughly 60 years.

MIGRATION
Manatees migrate along the coast. North American manatees winter in Florida, as they prefer warm water.

LOCOMOTION
Manatees spend their entire lives int he water. They are slow swimmers who use their two flippers (located close to the head) and a flattened tail to move through the water.

BEHAVIOR
Manatees are gentle and sometimes social animals. They communicate with each other using clicks and chirps. Manatees do not develop permanent pair bonds; they live in small family groups, in small herd of 15 to 20 individuals, or alone. Manatees sleep with the nostrils poking above the water.

HABITAT
Manatees live their lives in the warm, shallow waters along the coast, in estuaries, and in canals. They can live in salt, fresh, or brackish waters

DISTRIBUTION
Manatees are found along the Gulf coast of America (wintering in Florida), and in many waterways in South America.

DIET AND TEETH
Manatees eat water plants with their molars (flat teeth). An adult can eat 100-150 pounds (45-67 kg) of food each day. Their rough-textured teeth and hard on their teeth, which are continually replaced. Manatees have "marching molars," flat-surface grinding teeth that grow in at the back of the jaw and then migrate towards the front. Eventually, each tooth reaches the front (and becomes worn down) and then falls out; it is replaced by new migrating teeth.

REPRODUCTION
Manatees give birth to a single calf after a year-long gestation period. At birth the calf is 3 to 4 feet (1-1.3 m) long and weighs 60 - 70 pounds (27-32 kg), bigger than most first graders. The calf is fed milk by its mother for up to two years. Females are mature at five years old.

PREDATORS
Manatees have no natural predators. Their only enemy is people (who used to hunt manatees for their meat, oil and hide) and the propellers of boats, which can maim or kill them.

NUMBERS
Manatees are an endangered species and their numbers are dwindling.

CLASSIFICATION
The manatee belongs to the:

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