Relax and color some manatee pictures. Get to know the whimsical, mellow creature that few of us ever get to see.
The beautiful, blubbery beast that spends half its day sleeping and the other half eating! Oh, we humans should be so lucky!
Ponder the pictures of this docile dweller of the ocean shallows. Is it a sea cow or a siren?
Both actually (more on that later).
Appreciate them while you can. They're endangered.
So are their relatives, the dugong. Sadly, it's too late for the Steller's sea cow (or is it?) extinct since the 1700's.
That's a complicated question.
The manatee, dugong and the extinct Steller are members of the order Sirenia aka sirens.
You know, as in mermaids. Those luscious ladies that lured sailors onto the rocks.
Hard to believe that some desperate, not to mention blind, sailor would be attracted to a dugong. But that's how the story goes.
They're also called sea cows. Why? Because these guys graze on grasses like their four-legged land dwelling namesakes. Plus they provide hides and meat, too.
But they're actually related to the elephant not the cow (nor the mermaid ;/ ).
You may notice a recurring theme. My search for the subject of this page turned up mainly photos of the mammal masticating.
Well, they do have to work to maintain their elephantine figures. An adult eats about 100 pounds of plants per day! That requires many hours of munching.
So they're often seen using their flippers to shovel food into their faces. Or to sift through the sediment for tasty morsels.
Like this pair...
These guys are searching through the sand for food. Or grazing a nice bed of sea grass or whatever you choose to make it.
Manatees are not the pickiest of eaters. They'll nosh on more than 65 different aquatic plants.
Here's a single cow posing for a passing diver. You'll notice she's not bothered by his presence. While he's gazing she's grazing.
This guy is playing a dangerous game with that crab trap line. That easy meal may just cost him his life.
Unfortunately, some manatees get tangled in those lines and drown. They have to catch their breath several times per hour or they perish.
I was driving down by the beach the other day when I spotted my first manatee!
Unfortunately, it wasn't real but I was real excited. So I took this picture to share with you.
She may not be real but she's still real handy. Who wouldn't want a manatee mailbox? Cute isn't it?
I sure do! But we have community mailboxes in my neighborhood. :(
I'm hoping next time I can take a picture of the real animal. They have been spotted in the vicinity!
For now I'll just have to settle for this manatee coloring page. Join me?
The majestic members of the Sirenia group swimming. They're probably traveling to another favorite dining spot!
Here's a picture of a manatee swimming along the bottom with her own school of fish. She makes a great place to hide. Plus her fish friends probably dine on her crumbs.
This dugong family looks like it's on a mission.
Where do you think this momma dugong is taking her calf? Somewhere safer or somewhere to eat?
You can see how similar they look to their cousin above.
But their tail is like that of a whale! And their muzzles are longer.
This poor lady is/was a Steller sea cow.
Steller, a naturalist, actually examined a dead female specimen. This drawing was probably made from observing her.
Sadly, these sea cows became extinct not long after this drawing was made. They were too slow and tame. Easy prey for hunters who finished them off.
There have been alleged sightings of these cows lately. But as you can see from this video...
the evidence is not very compelling!
It would be nice to rediscover them. But it's not likely. :(
Manatees hang around in the Gulf of Mexico, Carribean Sea, the Amazon and West Africa.
Where can you go to see them?
Dugongs are native to the shallows around the western Pacific and east coast of Africa.
Where can you see a one? You'll probably need to travel to...
It's sad that we've lost the Steller sea cow. Hopefully, we can hold on to the rest of her family! Such gentle, interesting and cute creatures need their space, too.
Back to the Ocean Life pages for more critters to color
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Most coloring pages were derived from photos found on Wikimedia