The Dugong

Oceana “Dugong”

What are Dugongs?

Dugongs are related to Manatees in behavior and in appearance! The Dugongs are under the Vulnerable category. So, they are not endangered but could be going into the decreasing category. They are threatened by habitat destruction, boats, and fisheries!

What do Dugongs eat?

Dugongs are major vegetarians so that means they are Herbivores! This also causes them to spend most of their time in grass beds and eat a lot of seagrasses. As a result of them only eating plants their brain does not develop complex hunting strategies so they have a smaller brain than most mammals.

National Geographic “Dugong”

How do Dugongs behave?

Dugongs graze on underwater grasses day and night. As a result, they have sensitive snouts and rough lips. They can stay underwater for six minutes before coming to the surface. When they come up for air they use their tail to “stand” while their head is above the water! They spend most of their time alone but once in a while, you can see them with hundreds of other species.

National Geographic “Dugong”

Where do Dugongs live?

They can be found in coastal areas from East Africa to Australia, including the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific. They never enter the freshwater areas which shows they are the only marine mammal that makes that choice.

National Geographic “Dugong”

What are the characteristics of a Dugong?

Their scientific name is Dugong dugon! They are marine mammals that grow to about 10 feet and weigh up to 1,100 pounds!! They live a long life which leads up to 70 years! They have strong cleft upper lips to help them graze on their food (that is the reason they are commonly mistaken as a sea cow). Their forelimbs are rounded flippers. They have no hind limbs or discernible neck. Their snout is broad and bristled.

National Geographic “Dugong”

What does the Dugongs Offspring act and look like?

Dugongs give birth to large youngs which they nurse for as long as a year and a half! Females are not able to give birth until about 10 years old and give birth every 3 to 7 years!

National Geographic “Dugong”

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