Florida Manatee Facts Information - How The Manatee Got Its Name

How The Manatee
Got Its Name






Florida Everglades


What "Manatee" Means


How the manatee got its common name is uncertain. The term evidently has its roots in the Carib Indian or Taino word "manati," meaning "woman's breast."

Perhaps an unlikely term to apply to a marine animal, but the manatee is a mammal and its mammae do resemble those of a human.

When the Spanish and Portuguese invaded islands controlled by the Caribs, they also adopted the word "manati" but apparently thought it meant "with hands."

Not an unnatural interpretation since a manatee's front flippers are important for feeding, and (along with the tail) instrumental for steering while swimming.

They also nicknamed it "sea cow" because of its preference for plants.

Where To See Florida Manatees

Manatee Photo Gallery

How Long Have Manatees Been Around?

How Old Do Manatees Live?

Manatees as Mermaids

Manatees and Elephants

Why Manatees Became Endangered

To Florida Manatee Homepage