The following is derived from the 2001 Florida Manatee Recovery Plan (USFWS 2001, which should be consulted for original references): Florida manatees are massive spindle-shaped animals (wide in the middle and tapering at both ends) with skin that is uniformly dark gray, wrinkled, sparsely haired, and rubber-like. Manatees have paddle-like forelimbs, no hind limbs, and a spatulate, horizontally flattened tail. Females have two axillary mammae, one at the posterior base of each forelimb. Their bones are massive and heavy with no marrow cavities in the ribs or long bones of the forearms. Adults average about 3.0 m (9.8 ft) in length and 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs) in weight, but may reach lengths of up to 4.6 m (15 ft) and weigh as much as 1,620 kg (3,570 lbs). Newborns average 1.2 to 1.4 m (4 to 4.5 ft) in length and about 30 kg (66 lbs). The nostrils, located on the upper snout, open and close by means of muscular valves as the animals surface and dive. A muscular flexible upper lip is used with the forelimbs to manipulate food into the mouth . Bristles are located on the upper and lower lip pads. Molars designed to crush vegetation form continuously at the back of the jaw and move forward as older ones wear down. The eyes are very small, close with sphincter action, and are equipped with inner membranes that can be drawn across the eyeball for protection. Externally, the ears are minute with no external ear flaps.
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