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Florida manatee

Trichechus manatus

Today's Research for Tomorrow's Oceans

Species Type:

Marine Mammals

Common Name(s):

Florida manatee


After reaching maturity, manatees average 10 feet (three meters) in length and weigh between 800 to 1,200 pounds (360 to 540 kilograms).


You can find Buffett munching on his lunch around noon daily. What's on the menu? Dozens of heads of romaine lettuce!


Originally born at the Miami Seaquarium, Buffett came to Mote in 1996. As an animal ambassador, Buffett introduces hundreds of thousands of visitors to manatees each year and helps spread the word about how you can protect threatened manatees in the wild. 

Buffett’s role at Mote is even bigger: He’s one of the only manatees in the world trained to participate in voluntary, detailed behavioral research designed to aid manatee conservation. He has helped us study everything from manatee eyesight, hearing, physiology and body temperature to the tiny hairs, called vibrissae, that cover their bodies. Understanding how manatees navigate and experience their world is allowing resource managers to better understand and protect these threatened mammals. 

This type of vital research and conservation has also been made possible thanks to Buffett’s brother, Hugh. Hugh was a longtime resident manatee who inspired generations of Mote visitors and deepened our understanding of his species before he passed away in 2023.