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Save the ManateesManatees have a mass of 400 to 550 kilograms (880 to 1,200 lb), and meanlength of 2.8 to 3.0 metres (9.2 to 9.8 ft), with maxima of 3.6 metres (12 ft) and1,775 kilograms (3,910 lb) seen (the females tend to be larger and heavier).When born, baby manatees have an average mass of 30 kilograms (66 lb).They have a large, flexible, prehensile upper lip. They use the lip to gather foodand eat, as well as using it for social interactions and communications.Manatees have shorter snouts than their fellow sirenians, the dugongs. Theirsmall, widely-spaced eyes have eyelids that close in a circular manner. Theadults have no incisor or canine teeth, just a set of cheek teeth, which are notclearly differentiated into molars and premolars. Uniquely among mammals,these teeth are continuously replaced throughout life, with new teeth growing atthe rear as older teeth fall out from farther forward in the mouth. At any giventime, a manatee typically has no more than six teeth in each jaw of its mouth.Its tail is paddle-shaped, and is the clearest visible difference betweenmanatees and dugongs; a dugong tail is fluked, similar in shape to a that of awhale.Like horses, they have a simple stomach, but a large cecum, in which they candigest tough plant matter. In general, their intestines have a typical length ofabout 45 meters, which is unusually long for animals of their size.
Save the ManateesThreatsThe main causes of death for the sea cows are human-related issues, such as habitat destruction and humanobjects, and natural causes, such as temperatures and disease.Ship strikesTheir slow-moving, curious nature, coupled with dense coastal development, has led to many violent collisionswith propeller-driven boats and ships, leading frequently to maiming, disfigurement, and even death. As a result, alarge proportion of manatees exhibit spiral cutting propeller scars on their backs, usually caused by larger vesselsthat do not have skegs in front of the propellers like the smaller outboard and inboard-outboard recreational boatshave.. They are now even identified by humans based on their scar patterns. Many manatees have been cut inhalf by large vessels like ships and tug boats, even in the highly populated lower St Johns Rivers narrowchannels. Some are concerned that the current situation is inhumane, with upwards of 50 scars anddisfigurements from vessel strikes on a single manatee. Often, the cuts lead to infections, which can prove fatal.Internal injuries stemming from being trapped between hulls and docks and impacts have also beenfatal.