West Indian manatee

West Indian manatee

Trichechus manatus

IUCN status
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West Indian manatee

« Beauval’s group of manatees is now the largest in Europe! »

Like a fish in water

And yet, it is not one!

Despite living exclusively in an aquatic environment, the manatee is a mammal! At birth, young manatees are nursed by their mother. Like all mammals, the manatee’s body is covered with hair. But those of the manatee have a special characteristic: they are in fact vibrissae, hairs which enable nearby vibrations to be detected and the manatee to therefore move safely, even in the darkest or most tumultuous waters. As long as it is warmer than 20 °C, the manatee can live in all types of water, be it freshwater or saltwater.

West Indian manatees

Did you know?

The Manatee Ball

We understand better why sailors took them for sirens… as shown by our video!

Treat yourself to a wonderful moment of relaxation and admire the graceful manatees swimming in their pool alongside Beauval’s keepers!

The Beauval Nature association

For the past 10 years, the Beauval Nature association has joined forces with field workers to support them in their primary mission of species conservation. Beauval works closely with numerous conservation and research programmes around the world to study and protect endangered species. This everyday action takes place in order to protect our biodiversity.

West Indian manatees

Femore, a young manatee mother

On the night of January 7, 2020, Femore gave birth to a young male in the large manatee pool, within The Equatorial Dome. 

Although yet to open at the time, this wonderful event filled the dome with joy. 

Femore is a very attentive mother, although she still does not miss an opportunity to blow off some steam with a few acrobatic manoeuvres… when she is not eating delicious salad leaves of course.

West Indian manatees
West Indian manatees
West Indian manatee
West Indian manatee
Beauval Nature

Sponsor our manatees

Establish a strong bond with your favourite animal whilst supporting conservation programmes through the Beauval Nature association!


Learn more about the species

  • Diet
  • Gestation period
    12 to 14 months
  • Litter size
    1 young
  • Habitat
    Saltwaters, Freshwaters
The original mermaids
The manatee is believed to be behind the legend of the mermaid. Both share certain characteristics, such as elongated bodies and tails that end in a large flat, horizontal fin. Moreover, the manatee’s “song” particularly resembles the mythical descriptions of those of mermaids: long high-pitched songs, called “laments”, which echo in the water. Sailors unsettled by a long voyage may have easily confused these cries with gentle, far-off voices.
Sea cows
The manatee mainly feeds on algae which grow in the depths of the waters it inhabits. With its mouth stuck to the ground, leaning forward on its fore fins, this large aquatic mammal is reminiscent of a well-known herbivore that lives on our pastures: the cow. This feeding habit has earned it the nickname “sea cow”, which is far from the fantastical image of mermaids!
The largest group of manatees in Europe is at Beauval
The ZooParc de Beauval was the first French park to house manatees. Since their arrival in 1997, several births have taken place including that of twins, a first for a zoological park! Through these births and collaborations between zoological parks, the group has grown and has now moved into the equatorial dome. Made up of a dozen or so individuals, Beauval’s group of manatees is today the largest in Europe!

Where can I see them in the park?

Take full advantage of the experience thanks to our mobile application!
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Other species in the territory

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