A sea cow’s closest living relative is the elephant.

Manatee   © Carol Grant

There are four living species of Sirenians or so called “Sea Cows” that are categorized in two families: Manatees & Dugongs. They are large mammals that can weigh up to 1150 kg spending their entire lives in water, feeding off marine algae and seagrass.

Manatees and Dugongs are social animals, occurring in large aggregations and interacting frequently with one another.

A fifth species, called Steller’s sea cows, is now extinct. These Individuals were enormous, likely exceeding 6000 kg, roughly the size of African elephants. They were discovered in the Bering Sea in 1741, and were exterminated by sailors about 30 years later.

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