Manatees explained: Inside the slow-paced lives of "sea cows"
Manatees are sometimes called sea cows, and their languid pace lends merit to the comparison.
However, despite their massive bulk, they are graceful swimmers in coastal waters and rivers. Powering themselves with their strong tails, manatees typically glide along at 5 miles an hour but can swim 15 miles an hour in short bursts.
Manatees are usually seen alone, in pairs, or in small groups of a half dozen or fewer animals. From above the water's surface, the animal's nose and nostrils are often the only thing visible. Manatees never leave the water but, like all marine mammals, they must breathe air at the surface. A resting manatee can remain submerged for up to 15 minutes, but while swimming, it must