Taking A Breath by D Hackett
The Florida manatee, Florida�s state marine mammal, is a large aquatic relative of the elephant. They are grayish brown in color and have thick, wrinkled skin on which there is often a growth of algae. Their front flippers help them steer, or sometimes crawl, through shallow water. They also have powerful, flat tails that help propel them through the water. Despite their small eyes and lack of outer ears, manatees are thought to see and hear quite well.
Like other grazing animals, Florida manatees play an important role in influencing the plant growth in the shallow rivers, bays, estuaries, canals and coastal waters they call home.
Manatees only have molars, which are used to grind food. As they wear down and fall out, they are replaced with new teeth. Manatees are herbivores, with a diet consisting mostly of sea grasses and freshwater vegetation. Although there is no precise census of Florida manatees, today�s population is estimated at approxima...