West African Manatee

West African Manatee
Photographer: Open Cage

West African Manatee Range Map (West Africa)
West African Manatee Range Map
(West Africa)

Latin Name Trichechus senegalensis
Conservation Status Vulnerable
Location West Africa
Colour Grey/Brown
Length 3 - 4 m (10 - 13 ft)
Weight Up to 500 Kgs (1,100 lbs)
Life Expectancy

Up to 60 Yrs

Main Characteristics

West African Manatees reach lengths between 3 and 4 m (10 - 13 ft) and they weigh up to 500 kgs (1,100 lbs). They are grey/brown in colour and they have a sparse scattering of short hair on their body. Their skin is thick and beneath it they have a layer of fat.

Their body is large and rounded, and they have a paddle like tail fluke. Their front limbs act as flippers and they are agile in water.

They have a small head with a broad muzzle that is adapted for feeding on aquatic plants. Their eyes are small and they rely on their senses of hearing and touch.

West African Manatees feed on abrasive plants and because of this their teeth are constantly being worn down. To counteract this their teeth are continually being replaced throughout their life.


West African Manatees are found in the coastal areas, estuarine lagoons, large rivers and freshwater lakes of west Africa. They are mainly solitary but sometimes they will gather in small groups.


West African Manatees feed upon aquatic plants. They are dependent on overhanging or emergent vegetation and they mainly feed at night.


West African Manatees give birth to one calf in a shallow lagoon. Little else is known about reproduction in West African Manatees but it is assumed to be similar to that of the West Indian Manatee.


Humans and crocodiles are predators of West African Manatees.


There are no subspecies of the West African Manatee.

Interesting Facts

West African Manatees are also known as:
African Manatee
Sea Cow

Similar Animals

Amazonian Manatee
West Indian Manatee


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