How big is a manatee

Animal Lexicon: Manatee

There are several types of manatees. They differ in their appearance and their habitat

Steller's manatee

Hydrodamalis gigas

This largest species of manatee is history: it was discovered in the Bering Sea in 1741 and died out 27 years later. The Steller manatee belonged to the dugong family. Their dark skin, up to 7.5 centimeters thick, was reminiscent of the bark of a tree, which is why it was formerly called a bark animal.


Dugong dugong

Dugongs are also called fork-tailed manatees because of their triangular tail fin. Their snouts are bent downwards and the males develop small tusks. Dugongs can live up to 60 years.

Amazon manatee

Trichechus inunguis

The smallest species of manatee is at home in the fresh water of the Amazon. During floods, the animals graze in flooded meadows and when the water recedes they often stay in shallow lakes. Their slow metabolism helps them go without food for months at times.

Caribbean manatee

Trichechus manatus

Small nails on the front fins of the Caribbean manatees indicate that manatees are related to elephants and descend from four-legged friends living on land. Adult animals weigh up to 600 kilograms! They can live up to 70 years.

African manatee

Trichechus senegalensis

The African manatees live in the coastal waters and rivers of West Africa. How many animals of the species still exist is unclear. They are considered to be particularly endangered.