|Florida Nature: Endangered Mammals|
Mammals have the highest number of endangered species
in the state of Florida. They have twenty endangered species in Florida,
four threatened species in Florida, and six species of special concern.
Each Florida mammal is classified as either endangered, threatened or a
species of special concern (SSC). The number after the classification
refers to the reason it is classified as a species of special concern.
The description of each number value can be found
here. Click on the common
name of the mammal for a brief description and photograph of each
endangered mammal from the state of Florida. For further information on
Florida, you may want to purchase a book from our
Florida Nature Library.
Being mammals ourselves, we tend to feel passionately about the plight of other mammals, such as tigers and pandas. Most endangered mammal species are threatened by habitat loss, while a significant percentage continue to be hunted despite dwindling population sizes.
West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) Endangered- West Indian manatees are large, gray aquatic mammals that are concentrated in Florida waters during winter months. Manatees are believed to have evolved from a wading, plant-eating animal. Adults weigh an average of 1,000 pounds and span an average of 12 feet in length. Manatees are gentle and slow-moving animals. Most of their time is spent eating, resting, and traveling. Manatees are completely herbivorous. They eat a large variety of submerged, emergent, and floating plants and can consume 10-15% of their body weight in vegetation daily. Because they are mammals, they must surface to breathe air. They may rest submerged at the bottom or just below the surface of the water, coming up to breathe on an average of every three to five minutes At least 3,000 manatees are concentrated in Florida waters. When the waters of the Gulf of Mexico turn colder, hundreds of manatees migrate to Crystal River along Florida's West Coast. At the headwaters of the river are several major springs from which millions of clear, 72-degree water flows year-round. Warm water is a matter of survival for the manatee. Watercraft-related mortality is the leading identified cause of manatee death in Florida. Citrus County is currently the only place in the US where you can interact and swim with the West Indian manatee without that act being viewed as harassment by Law Enforcement.
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