The manatee is a large aquatic mammal that live in rivers and shallow coastal waters of tropical areas of Africa, North America, Central America, and South America. There are three subspecies of manatee. They are the West African Manatee, which is found in western coastal regions of Central Africa, the Amazonian manatee, which is found in the Amazon River, and the West Indian manatee, which is found in the coastal waters of the Gulf Coast, Caribbean, Central and northern South America.The one above is a West Indian manatee that was photographed at Merrit Island NWR in Florida. It is believed that manatees probably evolved from four legged mammals that waded in the shallow waters eating aquatic vegetation over 60 million years ago. Over time their front legs evolved into flippers and their back legs evolved into a large paddle like tail. Manatee spend their entire life in the water. Most of their day is spent eating aquatic plants and resting. They are still mammals so they have to come to the surface an average of every 3 to 5 minutes to breath. The waters that they live in must be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit for them to survive. If the waters get to cold they will migrate to warmer waters, often this means going inland up rivers. They have no natural predators however habitat loss, water contamination, and boat collisions have decreased their populations to the point where they were placed on the Endangered Species list.