Florida Manatee Facts | Florida Wildlife Guide
They can be over 10 feet long and weigh up to 3,500 pounds. While their skin color is gray, they frequently appear to be green due to algae growing on their backs. They also play host to barnacles when they are swimming in saltwater, but these hitchhikers don’t survive the transition to freshwater when the manatees move to inland waters. They can remain submerged for 20 minutes when resting, but, as mammals, they do need to come to the surface to breathe.
Conservation and educations efforts for the Florida manatee have brought them back from the brink. For years, boat collisions were the biggest threat, either through the impact of a strike or infections resulting from propellor cuts. Boater education has resulted in slower speeds and the avoidance of manatee habitat, reducing these impacts significantly. Over the last 25 years their population in the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico has rebounded from just over 1,000 to over 6,000 individuals. In 2017 they were downlisted from endangered to threatened. This means that they are not in immediate danger of extinction, but they still need to be watched and protected carefully.