18 Nov

Manatees: The Gentle Giants of Florida’s Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida

What are Manatees?

Manatees are large, gentle, and slow-moving animals that live in warm, shallow waters. They are also known as “sea cows” because they eat plants, such as seagrass and water hyacinth. Manatees have a gray or brown body, a paddle-shaped tail, and two flippers. A fun fact about the mammals is that they can grow up to thirteen feet long and weigh up to 1300 pounds!

Like humans, they are very social and often form groups called herds. They communicate with one another using sounds such as squeaks, chirps, and whistles.

Manatee Image

Where Do Manatees Live in the Wild?

Manatees can be found in Florida, with seagrass and fresh water. Fresh water is water that is not salty like the water humans drink. Freshwater plants like seagrass grow in lakes, springs, and rivers. Florida has many places where these plants can grow and is a great home for manatees to access food.

How the CMA Contributes to Manatee Health & Safety

Manatees are endangered, which means they are at risk of becoming extinct. Some threats to manatees are habitat loss, boat strikes, fishing gear, and cold stress. Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) believes in preserving our environment through rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life. The CMA team has successfully rescued and homed many injured, sick, or orphaned manatees to rehabilitation facilities for care, and reintroduced them back into the wild after recovery.

How You Can Help Manatees

  • Avoid interacting with manatees in the wild including touching, chasing, and watering these animals
  • Learn more about them
  • Conversation efforts
  • Being respectful of their environment

I Want to Learn More!

Exploring manatees is a huge way to facilitate their safety and existence. K12’s free virtual field trips with Clearwater Marine Aquarium are available to watch on-demand, and open for all students in grades K-12 to attend virtually. Students do not have to attend a K12-powered school to join in on the fun! Choose to be a part of the change and tune in to an interactive conversation about manatees.

Bring Your Ideas to Life

If you know someone in grades K–12 interested in protecting the environment, listen up! Encourage them to turn their ideas into a reality and enter the K12 Innovation Challenge! They can work individually or as teams of up to three to submit a proposal for solutions in one of the six theme areas: habitat restoration, ocean vitality, future farms, endangered species, animal welfare and rescue, and community engagement. Let’s start innovating and making the world a better place! Submit your proposals by January 16th!