posted on Dec, 19 2010 @ 07:35 PM
West Indian manatees are large, gray aquatic mammals with bodies that taper to a flat, paddle-shaped tail. They have two forelimbs, called flippers,
with three to four nails on each flipper. Their head and face are wrinkled with whiskers on the snout. The manatee's closest relatives are the
elephant and the hyrax (a small, gopher-sized mammal). Manatees are believed to have evolved from a wading, plant-eating animal. The West Indian
manatee is related to the West African manatee, the Amazonian manatee, the dugong, and Steller's sea cow, which was hunted to extinction in 1768. The
average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs between 800 and 1,200 pounds.