A manatee looks like a small whale and it is a mammal, not a fish. The American manatee lives in the rivers of Florida, Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies. It measures 2.5 to 4 meters in length. The body is somewhat like a fish, but the tail is quite different. It is broad, shovel-like, horizontal, and has rounded edges. It has thick skin that is hairless, except for “.whiskers” on the upper lip.
Manatees live in bays, lagoons, and large rivers, but not in the open sea. As a rule, they prefer to stay in shallow water. When they are not feeding, they lie near the bottom. In deeper water, they often float about with the body arched, the rounded back close to the surface, and the head, limbs, and tail hanging down.
Manatees live on the plants they find in shallow waters. They use their flippers to push food to their mouths, and a manatee may eat 27 to 45 kilograms of food a day. But then a grown manatee may weigh as much as 680 kilograms. Because manatees browse like cows in the shallow waters and often are seen in small herds, they are sometimes called “sea cows”.
Manatees usually give birth to one calf, but sometimes there are twins. To nurse the young, the mother rises to the water’s surface and, with her head and shoulders out of the water, clasps the youngster to her breast with her flippers.
Manatees move very slowly and are perfectly harmless. But ip some places today, manatees are still being hunted because of their flesh, their hide, and the oil which can be obtained from them.
What does a manatee taste like?
Manatee meat has a mild taste and readily adapts to recipes for beef.