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West Indian Manatee  - Trichechus manatus latirostris
Photo by Florida Park Service, District 5

The West Indian or "Florida" manatee has a large, bulky, rounded body that tapers into a round, paddle-like tail. Its two front flippers help the animal maneuver in the water and move food towards its mouth. Its gray skin is think and wrinkly, and it has powerful lips which dig for food. The manatee can grow from 9-13 feet long and weigh up to 3000 pounds. They rely completely on plants for their food source, consuming up to 150 pounds per day.

West Indian Manatee
(Trichechus manatus latirostris)

North Carolina to Florida

Coastal waters, estuaries, bays

Plants, vegetation


The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
The West Indian manatee is endangered due to habitat loss and dangerous interactions with boats.

Learn More
- Save the Manatee Club
- Sea World