Sexual Maturity - Male manatees, also known as bulls, become sexually mature in approximately 10 years whereas, female manatees known as cows become sexually mature at about 7 to 8 years.
Mating - Manatees make the "beast with two backs" in various positions. They breed in herds consisting of one cow accompanied by several bulls. These herds will stay together for several weeks. During this time the female will mate with several bulls therefore it does not have a permanent bond with just one male.
Drawing of Manatees making "the beast with two backs"
Gestation Period - Manatee gestation occurs for about 12 months. Around Florida, manatees appear to give brith year-round but generally most calves are born in the summer months.
Young feeding manatee.
Birth Season - Studies show that Florida manatees have been known to give birth year round, but generally most calves are born in the summer months. Most Amazonian manatees give birth between February and May. West African Manatees are known to generally give birth at any time of the year.
Care for Young - Manatee calves are dependent on their mother for up to two years. During this time they learn about feeding, resting areas, travel routes, and places to go in the winter where there is warm water.