The Gentle Manatee
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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 3 to 5
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||mainly, snout, underwater, flipper, sharks, graze, adult, pounds, bulls, minutes, water, coast, surface, live, cows, form
||South America, North America
The Gentle Manatee
By Cindy Grigg
1 Manatees live in the water. They are not fish. They are mammals. Mammals are animals that drink their mother's milk. All mammals have hair. Manatees don't have much hair, though. They look bald.
2 Fish can breathe under the water. But mammals cannot. Manatees must come to the surface of the water to breathe air. A manatee must come to the surface to breathe at least every twenty minutes.
3 A manatee's body is shaped like a submarine. It can weigh as much as a car. Adult manatees can grow to be ten to thirteen feet long. They weigh from 1,000 to 3,000 pounds. The manatee's big body is covered with gray skin.
4 A manatee's head is small. Its mouth and nose form a big snout. The snout looks a little like an elephant's trunk. It has a wide, round tail. Instead of legs, it has two front flippers. At the end of each flipper are three or four fingernails. The fingernails look like an elephant's toenails. The manatee's gray skin looks like an elephant's skin. That's because manatees are related to elephants.
5 There are three kinds of manatees. One kind lives in South America. Another kind lives along the western coast of Africa. The third kind lives in warm parts of North America. Some live mainly in Florida. They are often called Florida manatees.
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