West African Manatee- Trichechechus Senegalensis


Common Name: West African Manatee
Scientific Name: Trichechechus Senegalensis

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West African Manatee swimming in a lake.
Natural Habitat and Location:



The West African Manatee's natural habitat is around coastal areas, estuarine lagoons, large rivers, and freshwater lakes of West Africa. They are mainly lonely, but sometimes will end up swimming in groups. They are found in West Africa, from southern Mauritania to the Kwanza River in Angola. The coastal wetlands that the Manatees have a major habitat at are becoming damaged because other animals try to hunt the manatees and they destroy their habitat in the process.

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West Africa is where the West African Manatee's habitat originates.
Niche:

The West African Manatee eats aquatic plants. They depend on overhanging, rather than vegetation. They mainly eat at night, and travel during the day, in 1-2 meter lakes or rivers. Many of the rivers depend on overhanging, if it has a big population. In estuarine places, the manatees mainly eat mangroves. In Sierra Leone, the manatees eat rice thats still being grown, and fish off the nets. In Gambia and Senegal, they are known to eat mollusks. The West African Manatee can reach up to 4.5 metres (14 feet 9 in.) in length, and weigh 360 kilometers (790 pounds). They are gray/brown in color, and they are completly covered in short hair. Under their thick skin, they have a layer of fat. They have a small head with a broad muzzle, that is used to eat aquatic plants. They depend on their sense of hearing and touching, since they have such small eyes. Their flippers are used for touching, scratching, and feeding the food into their mouths. They feed on abrasive plants, since their teeth are worn down; Their teeth are constantly replaced throughout their whole life. Manatees are seen invdividually, but at times they will travel in groups, ranging from 2 to 6 manatees. Manatees live in water that is 64 degrees F (18 degrees C), or higher. When the rivers start to fluctuate seasonally, the manatee will prefer to go to deep pools and connecting lakes. They also enjoy going to forests and swamps, since they have occasional flooding. Manatees are very friendly to other animals, but like to be alone. When the manatees reproduce is uncertain, but what is known is that the give birth to one calf in a shallow lagoon.

Population Expansion:

The West African Manatee could fill the Pygmy Hippopotamus's niche because they are both endangered species, who live in aquatic places. The Pygmy Hippopotamus and the West African Manatee are found in West Africa. Both of their habitats consist of rivers and streams. Both of their diets consist of vegeterian foods.

Species in Competition:

Pygmy Hippopotamus's and West African Manatee's compare in growth currently because the manatee's are starting to decrease. Since they are such an easy target for being caught in nets and being hunted, they have been decreasing lately. The hippos are still here, and are endangered species that have predators, but their percentage isn't starting to decrease. It would take a while for the West African Manatee to take over the Pygmy Hippopotamus because the hippos aren't going anywhere anytime soon, since there are so many of them.

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West African Manatee's on a net, being captured.
Sources:

First Picture: http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/pics/01_2005/manatee.jpg
Second Picture: http://www.theanimalfiles.com/images/west_african_manatee_range.jpg
Third Picture: http://www.arkive.org/media/6D/6DF0C05E-04B8-459E-8717-264E3CFE1E3C/Presentation.Medium/photo.jpg
West African Manatee: http://www.animalcorner.co.uk/marine/manatees/manatee_westafrican.html
http://www.animalinfo.org/species/tricsene.htm
http://www.theanimalfiles.com/mammals/dugong_manatees/west_african_manatee.html
Pygmy Hippopotamus: http://www.ultimateungulate.com/Artiodactyla/Hexaprotodon_liberiensis.html