Manatee Longevity

It is possible for manatees to live up to 60 years or more. Because of the many perils in the wild, however, longevity is uncertain. (Photo © David Schrichte)

Q. How long can manatees live?
--Lily Mollencott, Pennsylvania

A. Manatees are capable of living long lives. In fact, it is possible for manatees to live up to 60 years or more. One manatee living in captivity is now over 65 years old. Because of the many perils in the wild, however, longevity is uncertain. In particular, research conducted at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shows cause for concern. This research revealed that few manatees were living past the age of 30, and the majority of animals that were necropsied died between the age of 0 and 10 years -- nowhere near their estimated life expectancy of 60 years.

A manatee bears the scars of multiple boat hits. (Photo © David Schrichte)

--Kelsey Jennings
Staff Biologist, Save the Manatee Club

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