Manatee Prehensile Snout

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Imagine… A mammal that lives in shallow waters, eats an array of over 60 different marine and freshwater aquatic plants and literally feels its environment with tiny body hairs! And what is up with that cool manatee snout?

That’s what I’m talking about in this recent photo, the manatee’s prehensile snout.

“1: adapted for seizing or grasping especially by wrapping around”

Merriam-Webster: Prehensile Definition

A manatee flexes its snout with help from a flipper. Recent image. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.

What? You mean to tell me the manatee’s snout has about the same accurate sensitivity as the prehensile snout of an elephant?

Yes, that is the case. Additionally the longer bristles near the upper and lower parts of their mouth work as grabbing tools for the varying vegetation manatees consume. You can see the longer bristles more clearly in the following photographs.

Note the longer bristle-like hairs around the upper and lower portions of these manatee mouths. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.

Sea cow! They certainly live up to that name if you ever have the privilege of hearing them crunch with that snout and teeth while eating aquatic vegetation!

Other uses of their prehensile snout are nuzzling other manatees, investigating their environment and stretching it in every conceivable way. Look at those faces!

Various manatee snout stretching configurations. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.

But my very favorite use of their prehensile snout is when one manatee gently nudges another. Awwww…

Gentle nudge with the manatee’s versatile prehensile sensitive snout. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.Remember their snout is as sensitive as their close cousin the elephant’s trunk!

So there it is, another story behind one of my recent photos. Who would have thought there’s so much to a manatee snout?

Until next time,