Trichechus senegalensis feeds primarily on aquatic vegetation, and adults may consume up to 8000kg per year. They may also feed on overhanging bank growth, and populations living in estuarine environments are reported to feed exclusively on mangroves (Nowak 1991). In many areas, local fishermen claim that Trichechus senegalensis are responsible for stealing fish from nets. However, this behavior has yet to be confirmed (Reeves et. al. 1988). Trichechus senegalensis are dependent upon microorganisms living in their large intestines to aid in the digestion of certain plant materials (Rathbun 1990).