How to Draw a Manatee

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Manatees are large aquatic mammals. They are slow swimmers that feed on underwater plants. There are three species of manatee: The West Indian or Florida manatee, the Amazonian manatee, and the West African manatee. Similar species include the extinct Steller's sea cow and the dugong, which ranges from Australia to Japan to Madagascar.

Manatees can reach lengths of 4 meters (13 feet) and weigh 590 kilograms (1,300 pounds). It has a flexible, prehensile upper lip, which it uses for communication, social interaction, and to grasp food. Manatees sleep for about half of each day, and they have been known to live up to 60 years. Some studies indicate that they have good memories and are as smart as dolphins. All species except the Amazonian manatee travel between fresh and saltwater.

Did you know? In the South American country of Guyana, manatees have at times been kept in certain canals and waterways to keep them free of seaweed.

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Would you like to see a manatee? It is possible to swim with manatees in certain parts of Florida. They gather at Florida hot springs to keep warm in the winter.

Manatees are endangered. One reason is that they are slow-moving, generally traveling at no more than 8 kilometers or 5 miles per hour. Coupled with the fact that they may lie still at the water's surface, they are susceptible to boat strikes. Manatees that survive such collisions bear jagged scars on their bodies and tails.

Would you like to draw a gentle cartoon manatee? This easy, step-by-step cartoon animal drawing tutorial is here to show you how. All you will need is a pen, pencil, or marker and a sheet of paper. You may also wish to color your finished drawing.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Narwhal, Orca, and Baby Seal.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Manatee

How to Draw Manatee: Step 1

1. Begin by drawing the manatee's eye. Use curved lines to outline the rounded shape. Notice the pointed corner. Within the eye, draw a circle within a circle, and shade between them to indicate the pupil. Draw a curved line above the eye for the eyelid, and a thick curved line to form the eyebrow.

How to Draw Manatee: Step 2

2. Use curved lines to outline the second eye. Notice how the bottom line doubles back to form the top of the cheek. Inside the eye, draw a circle within a circle, and shade between them. Use a curved line to contour the eyelid and a thick curved line for the eyebrow.

How to Draw Manatee: Step 3

3. Draw the mouth using a wide, rounded "W" shaped line. Draw a curved line at the corner, and another between the sides of the "W."

How to Draw Manatee: Step 4

4. Shade two teardrop shapes above the center of the "W" to indicate the nostrils. Draw a curved line beside each. Then, draw many short curved lines extending from the cheeks to form the whiskers.

How to Draw Manatee: Step 5

5. Use two overlapping curved lines to draw the top of the manatee's head.

How to Draw Manatee: Step 6

6. Draw a long curved line to outline the manatee's body.

How to Draw Manatee: Step 7

7. Draw a curved line from the cheek to outline the manatee's belly, and another to indicate the base of the neck. Then, extend a curved line and double it back upon itself to form the flipper.

How to Draw Manatee: Step 8

8. Draw another long curved line from above the belly, and double it back upon itself to form the remaining flipper. Draw curved lines at the base of the flipper to indicate the shoulder.

How to Draw Manatee: Step 9

9. Draw a long curved line to finish the belly and enclose the manatee's rounded tail.

How to Draw Manatee: Step 10

Color your manatee. They are usually grey or brown, and they may have green algae growing on their bodies.

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The Complete Manatee Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Manatee

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