Manatees In Danger

Essay by Will StimpsonHigh School, 10th gradeA-, December 1996

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An essay on manatees, and the danger of them becoming extinct "Great Essay, Will. Needs a little refinement"


Quietly, but swiftly, the plump, dark animal glided across the water while making sounds comparable to that of the squeaks and squeals of a whale ('Florida Manatee' 1). Some would say these aquatic mammals are the ugliest thing below the surface, others would say that these animals are beautiful and resemble portly mermaids, but no matter what anybody says about the manatees, they are unique creatures (Ray and Ciampi 315). They are mammals that are completely harmless, they feed mostly on sea grass and sometimes small underwater creatures like shrimp (Berrill 212). It is a shame for these creatures to be on the endangered species list.

Looking at the physical aspect, these animals are incredibly uncommon, and like no other creature on earth. These majestic beasts can float across the water amazingly fast for its size ('Florida Manatee' 1).

They can weigh up to a ton, and get as long as fifteen feet. They are almost devoid of hair, except for some whiskers on their face, and they have internal ears on the sides of their head. Their nostrils are closed by valves, so they can accomplish such feats as flips and quick turns without losing any air. Manatees have no hind legs, but instead one big, flat, spatula-like tail (Sentman 327). This feature made people confuse manatees with mermaids for nearly four centuries (O'Shea 66).

Many biologists say that manatees possibly originated or evolved from ungulates such as elephants and cows because of the way that they are built, and certain features that they have in common. Like elephants, manatees have the peculiar half-moon shaped fingernails, and thick, wrinkled skin. Manatees also shares some traits with cows. The way the...