Manatees are lovable and gentle water creatures that spend their entire lives in the water. According to researchers, manatees can have a life span of up to 60 years and are found habitually in warm shallow waters. They only eat plants making them herbivores.
Belize has the region’s largest concentration of manatees by the count of the United Nations Environment Programme due to the fact that our country has the largest coral reef in the western hemisphere and extensive mangrove swamps. In addition, Belize’s network of rivers and lagoons which is protected in part by the reef provides fertile feeding grounds and shelter for these amazing mammals.
See also: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife and Jaguar Preserve
Manatees can be spotted along Belize’s entire coast line and can weigh as much as 1000 pounds. According to a UNEP report, manatees in Belize number fewer than 1000 but the population’s birth rate and cub survival rate is moderately stable and analogous to the population of Florida’s Crystal River area.
There are three protected manatee areas in Belize: The Northern Lagoon/Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary near Belize’s border with Mexico, the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sactuary which is a few miles from Belize City and Gales Point Manatee Wildlife Sanctuary in the Southern Lagoon area.
Many of our guests have spotted manatees on their way to Monkey River Village for the Howler Monkey Tour which remains one of the top tours to do from Placencia. On this tour, you will not only see manatees but also a variety of exotic birds, crocodiles and howler monkeys in their natural tropical environment.
Photo by Brigid Gallagher