• What is your favorite animal?

Our favorite animal is the Florida manatee. In The Ocean Adventure program, The Crystal River Florida Manatee Expedition, we show you some of the Florida manatees we have worked with. In The Ocean Adventure program, The Belize Whale Shark Expedition, we show you the manatees we found as we were looking for whale sharks. Visit our interactive internet expeditions and click onThe Crystal River Florida Manatee Expedition and you can learn about manatees.

• Do the manatees bite you?

The manatee don't bit us, but they do "kiss" us. The manatees are very friendly and gentle and don't try to bite us. Even if the manatees wanted to bite us, they would have a hard time doing that. Manatees don't have any sharp, front teeth. In fact, manatees don't have any front teeth at all! Manatees only have flat, grinding teeth in the back of their mouths.

• I wonder why manatees are so kind?

Manatees are called the "gentle giants". Manatees are the only marine mammal that only eats plants. Manatees don't have to chase their food. Manatees don't have to sneak up on their food. Manatees are so big that none of the other animals bother them or try to eat them. Manatees don't have to worry about catching their food or being eaten. Manatees don't have to defend themselves, so they haven't learned how to act mean.

• How do manatees swim?

Manatees swim like whales. Manatees move their big, round tail up and down underwater and that moves them through the water, like a whale's tail pushes it through the water.

• Do manatees have a brain as big as ours?

No. Compared to their body size they have a very small brain. Manatees have a smaller brain than a dolphin. A small brain does not mean that manatees are not intelligent. We just do not know what smart manatees are. Some scientists think that manatees are a lot smarter than people used to believe. Manatees are smarter than a cow, but probably not as smart as a dolphin. Some scientists think manatees are about as smart as pigs and pigs are pretty smart.

• How big is an average manatee?

An average adult manatee is about 10 feet (3 meters) long and weighs about 2,000 pounds (2 kilograms).

• How big is the biggest manatee?

The biggest manatee that we know about and have seen is in the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park in Homosassa Springs, Florida, named "Rosie". Rosie is 13 1/2 feet long and weighs 3,500 pounds.

Dive into our previous Internet Expedition to see some of the
manatees we have seen and worked with around the world.

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