The Beacon

Fact of the Day: Dugong

Dugong (credit: Julien Willem)

Today’s FOTD is about the strangely adorable dugong, which is closely related to both the manatee and the elephant. 

Dugongs, often called sea cows, use their split tail and paddle-like front flippers to slowly maneuver while grazing on sea grasses in shallow waters. They uproot the grasses with their fleshy lips and gently shake their food to avoid ingesting large amounts of sediment. 

They can grow up to 11 feet and weight up to 2,000 pounds. Following a yearlong gestation period, a single calf is born and then relies on its mother for about 18 months, often riding on her back for support.    

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