FAUNA OF THE WETLAND

MANATEES

Manatees are robust animals adapted to live and move in the water; adults get to measure between 3 and 4 meters and weigh between 1000 and 2000 pounds, with a period of life between 50 and 60 years. His skin is slightly rough with some hairs scattered on his body have two fins with flat and rounded nails, at the end of the body have a powerful tail, as every mammal breathes oxygen from the air so it comes out to breathe to the surface every 2 to 3 minutes and can remain submerged for up to 20 minutes when are resting.

Behavior

Manatees are harmless animals whose main activities are the search and consumption of food. Manatees rest on the bottom of bodies of water emerging at intervals to take in air and occasionally rest floating on the surface of the water for short periods.




Feeding

Manatees consume a large variety of floating plants such as water lilies and lentils, emergent plants such as grasses and leaves of shrubs and mangroves that hang close to the surface. An adult manatee can consume about 80 pounds of plants a day to catch or tear plants using their pectoral fins and their strong and flexible lips which are covered with hard bristles that help them hold the food.

Manatees only have molars which are continually replaced during their lifetime due to the wear they have on the consumption of fibrous plants. The offspring consume milk with a high fat content and practically no carbohydrates, the mother breastfeeds the baby for at least one year although the small ones also consume plants from the few weeks after being born.

Reproduction

In manatees, the males of the females can not be differentiated with the naked eye since there is no variation in the size or color of the body; they can only be distinguished by observing the position of the genital openings. Sexual maturity reaches between 4 and 6 years and reproduce at any time of the year; The gestation period lasts between 12 and 14 months in each birth a baby is born (sometimes 2) to whom the mother breeds for 2 years until it stops consuming milk and feeds completely on plants.




Habitat

The manatees on the San San River are generally found in shallow waters associated primarily with mangrove roots and riparian vegetation where they are feed and rest. This is of great importance to the ecosystem since the manatee can eat up to 80 pounds per day and returns to the ecosystem approximately 40% of this product as pure nutrients again to the water thus ensuring the basis of a stable and more productive ecosystem.