The Florida manatee, or sea cow (Trichechus manatus latirostris), a subspecies of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), is a large, grayish brown aquatic mammal, with a tube-shaped body and a flat, rounded tail. Its head has a blunt snout with prominent nostrils and a few coarse whiskers. Manatees are an endangered species, protected by state and federal laws. Manatees are commonly seen in Clearwater Harbor and the Inter-coastal waterway.
Grassflats are important feeding sites for these vegetarians. Manatees seek areas with a combination of seagrass patches, quiet areas, and sites with deep “holes” for safe retreats where they can avoid boat collisions.