Greetings! This blog is a continuation on the unique Florida manatee (yours truly). This is the fifth installment in a series of quizzes to test your awesome manatee knowledge!
Just select your answer from each of the choices under the question. You’ll find the answer key located at the bottom of this blog. OK – are you ready? Let’s go and Good Luck!
- When a manatee stretches, it most likely will let out a big ________ !
A. Yawn B. Chirp C. Groan D. Burp
- Manatees do not have eyelashes.
A. False B. True
- Newborn manatee calves can swim to the surface without any assistance.
A. True B. False
- Manatees are currently listed as threatened. Which threat(s) below do manatees have to watch out for?
A. Cold Weather B. Red Tide C. Boat Collisions D. All of these
- Climate change factors do not interfere with the manatee’s habitat.
A. True B. False
- C. When a manatee stretches, it lets out a big groan!
- B. True. Manatees do not have any eyelashes!
- A. True. Manatee calves can easily swim to the water’s surface without any assistance!
- D. All of these. Cold Weather – In Florida during the winter months when it has been colder than normal, an increase in manatee deaths is common. Why? Because manatees are warm-blooded marine mammals and they cannot tolerate water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists believe manatees cannot get their metabolisms high enough to make up for the heat loss in the surrounding waters.
Red Tide – Red Tide is the name given to the growth or “blooms” of tiny organisms of algae called Karenia brevis. When large amounts of these algae are present, it can cause a harmful algal bloom (HAB). These HAB pigments can cause the water to look red, green or yellow. When these microscopic organisms gather in large groups, they release a toxic by-product. It is this by-product that affects the central nervous system of manatees and other sea life. The toxin is also absorbed into seagrass, which is the main diet of manatees! As a result, manatees can quickly get sick or die from ingesting affected grasses. Scientists say that Red Tide and other algae blooms might be increasing in frequency due to climate change.
Watercraft Collisions – Unfortunately, watercraft collisions are the leading cause of manatee deaths in Florida. Manatees can swim up to 20 miles per hour in short bursts, but they usually just swim between 3 to 5 miles per hour. As a result, they are rather slow moving when they need to surface for air. This event combined with the propellers of fast moving watercraft and/or the crushing impact of the hull can kill manatees. Clearly, it’s important for boaters to watch for circular impressions on the water surface. These circles are helpful markers telling you that a manatee is right under the water there!
- B. False. This can be either natural or man-made. Research has shown that it is mostly man-made contributions to climate change that threaten manatees. Namely, as temperatures and sea levels continue to rise, seagrass beds (the primary food source for manatees), are impossible to grow where man-made sea walls and paving is taking place. Man-made bulkheads can also prevent the migration of manatees. As air temperatures continue to rise due to climate change, the frequency of more intense storms increases. As a result, these storms can displace or kill manatees. Finally, as the waters warm, there is an increase in toxic algae blooms, which can cause the increase in Red Tide outbreaks.
Stay tuned for more manatee quizzes in my future blogs!
If you are in Florida and you see a sick or injured manatee, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee