Today I want to write about a beautiful, gentle animal, the dugong.
Here are five interesting facts about them:
- These guys are very large, growing to 3 metres long and weighing up to 450 kg, although much larger individuals have been found.
- All dugongs grow tusks, but they are only visible in older males.
- They are the only completely marine mammal that only eats plants. Their close relative, the manatee only eats plants as well, but they are also found in freshwater areas.
- They have a very muscular upper lip that hangs over a downward facing mouth, helping them to graze on sea grass on the bottom of the ocean. They can hold their breath for up to 6 minutes and dive to depths of 33 metres to feed. They eat about 50 kg of sea grass every day.
- They have a very wide range, throughout the Indo-Pacific region, and their largest population is found in the northern waters of Australia. They are considered vulnerable to extinction due to hunting, pollution, being hit by boats and getting caught in fishing nets. Young dugongs are also sometimes eaten by large sharks, saltwater crocodiles and orcas. Because they are very slow breeders, it will take a long time for their population to recover.
I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.
Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about dugongs?