Historic Markers Across Florida

Relatives and Relationships

Marker ID:  
Location: 10901 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers, FL
County: Lee
Coordinates: N 26° 41.59    W 081° 46.656
  26.69316666    -81.7776
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMV4KQ


Relatives and Relationships

The manatee's closest living relative is the elephant. They have a number of features in common. Manatees have a flexible prehensile lip that functions in a similar way to the trunk of an elephant. It grabs vegetation and places it in the animal's mouth.
Can you find other similarities below?


• Herbivore: plant eaters
• Nurse calf from behind flippers
• Mother cares for calf for two years
• Thick hide with hair covering body
• Toenails on flippers

• Herbivore: plant eaters
• Nurse calf from behind front legs
• Mother cares for calf for three to five years
• Thick hide with hair covering body
• Toenails on toes

Prehensile Lip (Manatee)
Prehensile Trunk (Elephant)

Toenails (Manatee)
Toenails (Elephant)

Nursing (Manatee)
Nursing (elephant)

Manatee Young

Female manatees reach sexual maturity at age 3 but will not breed successfully until 6 to 10 years of age. Males are sexually mature at the age of two. Manatee mating herds are made up of sexually mature males and females. Within any given mating herd of manatees, there will be more males than females. Many males will court one female manatee within a breeding herd from a week to one month. Only persistent males will be successful.

Reproductive Rates
Manatees reproduce very slowly. Female carry the young up to 13 months before giving birth and usually produce a single calf with each pregnancy. Although calving occurs year round, there is generally a two to five-year span before females reproduce again.

Did you know?
Calves will remain dependent on their mothers for up to two years. Young manatee calves nurse from their mothers under water and are able to begin nibbling on aquatic vegetation a few weeks after birth.

Photographs of this marker can be found on HMDB.org