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Question: There are five separate manatee species.
Answer: There are three species, distinguished mainly by where they live. They are: West African manatees (Tricheus senegalensis), Amazonian manatees (T. inunguis), and West Indian manatees (T. manatus).
Question: Manatees can stay underwater for nearly an hour.
Answer: Resting manatees can stay underwater for 15 to 20 minutes, but manatees who are actively swimming need to surface every 4 to 6 minutes.
Question: Manatees can swim as fast as 20 miles an hour in short bursts.
Answer: Manatees can swim that fast in short bursts, but their normal speed is between three and five miles an hour.
Question: Manatees are mainly active during the day.
Answer: Manatees are active both day and night.
Question: Manatees have a thick layer of blubber that helps them stay warm.
Answer: Unlike whales and seals, manatees need to stay in warm water, which is why they mostly live in tropical areas. They have been spotted as far north as Cape Cod but only rarely.
Question: Manatees have few natural predators.
Answer: Manatees show no fear of alligators, which are the largest predators in their environments. Human activity is the greatest danger to manatees.
Question: Manatees' closest living relatives are seals.
Answer: Manatees and their close relative the dugong evolved separately from other aquatic mammals; their closest relatives on land are probably elephants and hyraxes.
Question: The extinct Steller's sea cow was about the same size as modern manatees.
Answer: Steller's sea cows could grow as large as 30 feet (9–10 meters). They were hunted to extinction by humans in the 18th century.
Question: Manatees sometimes injure swimmers by biting them.
Answer: Manatees are generally not aggressive. Also, their teeth are set too far back in their mouths to be used for attacking.
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