Manatee, the gentle giant...
The manatee, Florida’s State Marine Mammal, is very large and slow moving, weighing 1,000 pounds. Averaging 8 to14 feet in length, they are related to the elephant. Designated slow zones for boats help protect them, but they often bear propeller scars and sometimes collisions with boats result in manatee deaths. Although they were listed as an endangered species in 1967, their numbers are still declining
These "gentle giants," as they are called, are herbivores, grazing daily on sea vegetation for six to eight hours a day. The rest of the day they are traveling or resting. They thrive in warm water and easily become stressed when water temperatures drop below 68 degrees. That’s why in winter months they migrate to coastal areas, shallow coves, estuaries, rivers and bays where there are warm springs and lush sea grass beds.