View Full Version : Week #2 The Dugong

May 7th, 2007, 11:33 AM
This animal is also sometimes known as a seacow. Do you know what it is?

Its the Dugong


The Dugong (sometimes refered to as a "Seacow") is a mammal, that is, it suckles its young.
Dugongs are large grey mammals which spend their entire lives in the sea. Though Acquatic it breathes air through lungs and has live babies not eggs like fish
Dugongs swim by moving their broad spade-like tail in an up and down motion, and by use of their two flippers.

Physical Description
The Dugong may reach 3m in length and weigh almost 500 kgs. They have a thick layer of fat giving them a distinctly rotund posture, small paddle-like flippers positioned far forward on the body and a broad, flattened, powerful tail that resembles the tail of whale.

The ochre brown skin of a Dugong appears smooth, but a really close view reveals a rough surface covered in pits from which grow short, thick hairs.
Dugongs have 2 nostrils near the top of their heads on a "fleshy lip", which can curl up to make breathing easier on the surface

HabitatIn Australia, Dugongs swim in the shallow coastal waters of northern Australia were they find protection from large waves and storms. Dugongs surface only to breathe, and never come on to land. They like to live in large herds, but due to declining numbers are often now found in smaller "family" groups of between 1 and 3 Dugongs

Female Dugongs give birth underwater to a single calf every three to seven years. Birth takes place in shallow water and the baby dugong is able to swim to the top of the water for its first breath. Baby dugongs are about 100 to 120cm long and weigh 20 to 30 kg. The calf stays with its mother, drinking milk from her teats and following close by until 18-24 months of age.
Dugongs reach adult size between 9 and 17 years of age, and have a lifespan similar to humans,if left alone

Numbers & Location
The largest remaining dugong population in the world is in Australia. In 1991 the northern Australian population was estimated at approximately 70,000 (??) with 12,500 in the Torres Straits and 1,700 in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Arabian (Persian) Gulf hosts the world's second largest population of dugong, thought to number at least 5,000 to 6,000. Red Sea estimate is about 4,000 East Africa from Somalia down to Mozambique, occur in hundreds, Pacific Ocean Vanuatu (estimated population 400), Palau (under 200), the Solomons etc. Southern Asia very small numbers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Papua-New Guinea, Philippines

Dugongs are slow-moving and have little protection against predators. Being large animals, however, only large sharks, Saltwater Crocodiles and Killer Whales are a danger to them.
Dugong (Sea Cow) Males have ivory tusks used for fighting during male-male rivalry as well for uprooting seagrasses. Young Dugongs hide behind their mothers when in danger.

DietDugongs are sometimes called "Sea Cows", because they graze on seagrasses. These marine plants look like grass growing on a sandy sea floor in shallow, warm water. Dugongs eat large amounts of seagrass, leaving behind feeding trails of bare sand and uprooted seagrass.

Conservation Status
Dugongs are a protected species in Australia, only traditionally hunted by the Aborigines. Dugongs only live where thee is seagrass, which is being destroyed by dredging and farm soil being washed into the sea, as well as pollution Dugongs like dolphins are also accidental victims to large net fishing On our Great Barrier Reef the Dugong population in 1987 was approax 3,500, in 4 years (1991) the ppulation was halved to 1,700 Dugongs are definitly an endanged species and are close to extinction as can be testified by the world wide numbers below

May 7th, 2007, 12:51 PM
I have a question! :)
Are they the same as our Manatees or is there a difference?
They look the same and I know different locations call things by different names.
But in the other hand, just because they look the same doesn't mean they are.

May 7th, 2007, 01:32 PM
They are not the same as manatees. Manatees differ from the Dugong in the shape of the skull and the shape of the tail. Dugongs have a forked tail, similar in shape to a whale's, while manatees' tails are paddle-shaped.

May 7th, 2007, 01:46 PM
They are not the same as manatees. Manatees differ from the Dugong in the shape of the skull and the shape of the tail. Dugongs have a forked tail, similar in shape to a whale's, while manatees' tails are paddle-shaped.
I didn't notice the tail difference! LOL
I was looking at just the body and face.
thank you for pointing that out.

I never even heard of the Dugong before this, just the Manatee.

Thanks Cat!! :boing::boing:

May 7th, 2007, 01:51 PM
Sure, no problem. Here is a picture of a manatee. So everyone can see it.

Willow Rosette
May 7th, 2007, 02:34 PM
That was cool. I thought the same thing as Shanti but she beat me to the question. Thanks for the lesson.

May 7th, 2007, 03:28 PM
YAY! I love Manatees and Dugongs!
I saw "sea cow" in the post preview and got excited! (I believe it's the manatee that's more commonly called a "sea cow" though, not the dugong)

They're so cute. I love'em.
You know they're distantly related to another one of my animal favorites-- elephants!

You can help with manatee conservation by joining the Save the Manatee Club (http://www.savethemanatee.org/) :) (ETA: I'm going to "adopt" one from there really soon!)

Sirenians were also thought to be the origin of the mermaid myths, too. :lol:

ETA: More links!
Sirenian International (http://sirenian.org/westindian.html)
Manatee - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu8ajgT9GrG0Bm7RXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2cm1qcWExBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDNQRzZWMDc3IEdnRpZANGNzU1X zcz/SIG=11obqd18k/EXP=1178653475/**http%3a//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manatee)
Manatee (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu_HegT9Gw6MAMQ5XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3YnZxaGYyBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMjYEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjc1N V83Mw--/SIG=125jic362/EXP=1178653534/**http%3a//www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/manatee.html)
Wonderful World of the Manatee (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu8ajgT9GrG0Bp7RXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2ZmtkaWlrBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDOARzZWMDc3IEdnRpZANGNzU1X zcz/SIG=11gnr0tvd/EXP=1178653475/**http%3a//www.manateeworld.net/)
Manatees (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu6u7gT9GLXoBtTRXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3cnFobzliBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMTYEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjc1N V83Mw--/SIG=123752rhd/EXP=1178653499/**http%3a//www.thewildones.org/Animals/manatee.html)
Manatee Cam (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu_bzgT9GYX0AIh9XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3c2wzbnRkBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMzUEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjc1N V83Mw--/SIG=11t1ls1n3/EXP=1178653555/**http%3a//www.manateecam.com/manateecam.html)
Animal Info - American Manatee (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu_bzgT9GYX0AKB9XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3bDUyZWxmBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMzcEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjc1N V83Mw--/SIG=122in5jl3/EXP=1178653555/**http%3a//www.animalinfo.org/species/tricmana.htm)
What is a manatee? (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu5Qhgj9GeVAAkltXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3Z2Yycjg2BGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDNDEEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjc1N V83Mw--/SIG=1305tnjqq/EXP=1178653601/**http%3a//www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/manatee/what-is-a-manatee.htm)
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority :: Facts about dugongs (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu.JWgj9GflYAS1FXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2cDR1OG0yBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMQRzZWMDc3IEdnRpZANGNzU1X zcz/SIG=132q4snpu/EXP=1178653654/**http%3a//www.gbrmpa.gov.au/corp_site/info_services/publications/misc_pub/dugongs)
Dugongs | The Humane Society of the United States (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu.JWgj9GflYAVFFXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2ZTNjMXQwBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDNARzZWMDc3IEdnRpZANGNzU1X zcz/SIG=133qgdllj/EXP=1178653654/**http%3a//www.hsus.org/marine_mammals/a_closer_look_at_marine_mammals/dugongs.html)
Dugong - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu.JWgj9GflYAWlFXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2NGNrNXY3BGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDNgRzZWMDc3IEdnRpZANGNzU1X zcz/SIG=11nejk7sb/EXP=1178653654/**http%3a//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dugong)
Dugongs: "Mermaids" in Danger? (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu.JWgj9GflYAY1FXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2czRjdTQwBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDOQRzZWMDc3IEdnRpZANGNzU1X zcz/SIG=12gbp6753/EXP=1178653654/**http%3a//news.nationalgeographic.com/kids/2004/03/dugongs.html)
Lesson Plans - Dugongs and Elephants—Cousins? (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu.JWgj9GflYAZlFXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3a3I4Ym1pBGNvbG8DZQRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMTAEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjc1N V83Mw--/SIG=12tf846lc/EXP=1178653654/**http%3a//www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/08/g35/ccdugong.html)
National Geographic Coloring Book: Dugongs Picture (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oGkijggj9GX78A9StXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3cGRwcm52BGNvbG8DdwRsA1dTMQRwb3MDMTYEc2VjA3NyBHZ0aWQDRjc1N V83Mw--/SIG=12f83jn01/EXP=1178653792/**http%3a//www.nationalgeographic.com/coloringbook/dugongs.html) (They have tons of other cool coloring pages there too --here (http://www.nationalgeographic.com/coloringbook/archive/)!)

Tarbh Nathroch
May 7th, 2007, 04:04 PM
I had a really great dive with six manatees last weekend. I was going to dive a spring but when I saw the manatees I dropped the cylinder (being near manatees in scuba gear is very illegal here and strongly enforced) and had a great time with them. A lot of belly scratching was enjoyed and they give great hugs. Very curious and social animals. I like almost as much as the otters back in CA.

May 7th, 2007, 04:06 PM
Lucky! I wish I could see one up close. There aren't any in the zoos where I live either. :(