WEIGHT & LENGHT
An adult's length rarely exceeds 3 meters. An individual this long is expected to weigh around 420 kilograms. Weight in adults is typically more than 250 kilograms and often less than 900 kilograms. The largest individual recorded was 4.06 meters long, weighed 1,016 kilograms, and was found off the Saurashtra coast of west India. Females tend to be larger than males.
WHAT DOES THE DUGONG EAT?
Dugongs graze on sea grasses and aquatic plants that grow in abundance in the tropical shallows. Dugongs eat large amounts of sea plants and often leave feeding trails behind of bare sand and uprooted sea grass. Before swallowing of the sea grass, dugong will shake its head to eliminate sand from the food. Dugongs can eat up to 88 pounds of seaweed daily.
HOW DOES THE DUGONG SWIM?
The dugongs tail flukes and flippers are raised up and down in long strokes to move the animal forward, and can be twisted to turn. The forelimbs are paddle-like flippers which aid in turning and slowing. Dugong is not a very fast swimmer. The Dugong normally swims 6 miles per hour, but it can accelerate to 14 miles per hour when needed. Dugongs breathes using the lungs. It needs to reach the surface of the water every six minute to breathe atmospheric oxygen.
HOW OLD CAN DUGONGS LIVE?
Dugong populations are constantly decreasing, with many dugongs being accidental victims in large commercial fishing. Dugongs can survive up to 70 years in protected habitats with enough food sources. Dugong calves will not reach their full size until they are about 15 years old.
Dugongs spend much of their time alone or in pairs, though they are sometimes seen gathered in large herds of a hundred animals. When in the group, dugongs uses various sounds to communicate. Most often they use barks, chirp-squeaks and trills.
Male dugongs will develop tusks during puberty, at age between 12 and 15 years. Females usually do not have visible tusks. Dugongs reaches sexual maturity between 9th and 15th year. Males establish and protect their courtship territory. Pregnancy lasts one year and ends with one calf.
Female dugongs give birth to just one calf about once every five years. The baby dugong is born underwater in the warm shallows, where the baby dugong is immediately able to swim to the surface in order to take its first breath. When the baby dugong is born, the dugong calf is about a meter in length and weighs about 20 kg. The dugong calf will stay close to its mother until the baby dugong is about 2 years old.
Main predators of dugong are killer whales, sharks and crocodiles. Bigger threat to their survival is associated with negative human activity.