|Title: Manatee calf nursing, Alternative Title: (none), Creator: Rathburn, Gaylen, Source: WO3544-Highlights, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.|
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The Florida manatee, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, occurs only in the southeastern United States. It occupies the northern limit of the species’ range, which extends south along the eastern coast of the Americas to Brazil. Manatees are slow-moving aquatic herbivores that feed in freshwater systems and the ocean. They rarely venture into near-shore ocean waters except to travel between adjacent rivers or estuaries. Prolonged exposure to water temperatures below 18°C (65°F) can be lethal to manatees. Marine Mammal Commission: Species List,
The average Florida manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs close to 1,200 pounds. Manatees can reach up to 13 feet in length and weigh 3,500 pounds. Female manatees tend to be larger than the males. Their calves weigh around 66 pounds and are 4 feet long. Fish and Wildlife Research Institute,
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