XManatee photo © David R. Schrichte

Q. Why do manatees swim so slow?
--Jillian Fantin, Texas

A. Although aquatic mammals have much in common because of their physical structure and aquatic habitat, each is adapted to its own particular lifestyle and niche. Predators or carnivores such as orcas or dolphins, for example, must have speed, strength and weapons such as sharp, biting teeth to catch and kill prey. Manatees are herbivorous (plant eaters) and have no natural predators, so they don't require fast swimming ability to catch prey or escape predators.

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