Life Cycle of a Manatee

••• Brent Durand/Moment/GettyImages

Manatees, sometimes called sea cows, are large mammals that live in warm sea waters. They live in shallow coastal areas and feed on sea vegetation.

Life Span

Manatees have a life span of fifty to sixty years. Full grown manatees weigh from four hundred pounds to over a thousand pounds and can reach ten feet in length.

Sexual Maturity

Female manatees reach sexual maturity between the ages of two to five years old. She may be pursued by up to twenty male manatees at a time.


Mating takes place all year round. Once pregnant, the gestation period lasts between 385 to 400 days.


Newborn manatees are called calves. Manatees have one calf or more rarely, two calves at a time. Newborns stay with their mother for at least a year. Some calves stay with their mother up to two and a half years.


After birth, the mother brings her calf to the surface to breathe. The calf nurses underwater and does so frequently. The mother teaches its young the environment and how to graze for vegetation as it grows. Full grown manatees eat over 60 pounds of manatees every day.

Related Articles

How Do Manatees Protect Themselves?
Life Span of Lobsters
How Do Elephants Give Birth?
What Foods Do Harp Seals Eat?
How Do Jaguars Care for Their Babies?
What Are the Manatee's Adaptations for Survival?
Bilbies Life Cycle
Test Your Knowledge on Middle School Science
Does Mahi Mahi Have Fins & Scales?
What Type of Vegetation Is Found in Coral Reefs?
Facts About Baby Giraffes
Difference Between 316 & 308 Stainless Steel
The Life Cycle of the Piranha
How Does a Turkey Reproduce?
The Natural Environment of African Lions
Facts About Baby Wolves
How Do Elephants Sleep?
How to Calculate an Equivalent Fraction
Life Cycle of the Golden Eagle
Life Cycle of the Lion