Today we learnt all about the majestic manatee! First, we practiced our animal sign language and then we discovered what manatees look like, where they live and how big they can grow. We then made the most adorable manatee masks and we set off to find their favourite food in the Aquarium. Manatees love to nibble up seagrass and luckily we found lots of it in our Community Seagrass Initiative exhibit! When we got back to the café we put out our sensory play trays filled with upcycled packing pellets from our shop, lots of animal toys and some shiny seagrass to find out for ourselves how hard it is for manatees to find their food! Finally, we sang our special song all about mangroves and had a manatee dance party! A fintastic time was had by all!
Manatees are beautiful creatures that live in mangrove forests, they are also sometimes known as the ‘sea cow’! They might look more like a whale or a seal but they are actually related to elephants, they even have toenails on the ends of their flippers just like elephants do! Manatees can grow up to 4m long and can weigh as much as a polar bear does when they are fully grown.
Manatees are vegetarians and their favourite food to eat is seagrass. They eat so much seagrass that each week they eat the same amount as a pig weighs! To find their food, manatees snuffle around on the bottom of the sea with the whiskers they have on their noses! Manatees must come up to the surface of the water to breathe but they can hold their breaths for a whopping six minutes so that they can get their fill of seagrass.
Unfortunately, many mangrove forests where manatees live are in trouble! They are being cut down to make space for farms and houses. There are lots of people out there replanting mangrove forests just like they are with the rainforests. We can help mangroves by letting people know just how important they are!
Next Week: We are learning about the cutest crab in the mangrove forest, the Fiddler Crab.
Toddler Tuesdays is limited to 15 spaces per session and tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis! Come along early to avoid disappointment.