Subject: Manatee, births

Nancy Sadusky (manatee@america.com)
Fri, 20 Sep 1996 10:27:16 +0000

Dear Marcus,

Your questions were:
 How many babies does a mother have at one time?  Could she
have multiple births like twins?  Please let me know soon.  Thanks!

Here's the answer:
Manatees usually only bear one calf.  Although twins have also been 
recorded, they are rare.  In 1991, one of the manatees in our Adopt-A-Manatee 
program, Phyllis, gave birth to twins, so she is quite famous!  

It is believed that females bear calves every two to five years. 
A two year interval may occur when a cow loses a calf soon after 
birth.  When pregnant, the mother manatee will carry the calf for 
about 13 months before she delivers.  Mothers nurse their calves for 
a long period, and a calf may remain dependent on its mother for up 
to two years.  The cow assumes total responsibility for raising the 
calf.  Calves nurse under water from a nipple located behind the cow's 
flipper and begin to eat plants a few weeks after birth.

Hope this answers your question!

Sincerely,
Nancy Sadusky
SMC Communications Director 

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