10 January, 2019
Dugongs can reach a length of 2.5 metres and weight up to 900 kilos.
- Dugongs have a flat tail and flippers like a whale, but are more closely related to the elephant.
- Dugongs are purely vegetarian and have large, wide mouths with an upper lip designed for feeding on the roots of sea grass, of which it can eat up to 40kg a day.
- Dugongs are not a very fast swimmers, only travelling at around six miles per hour, although they are capable of speeds of up to 14mph when necessary.
- Dugongs have very dense and heavy bones which hold the animal submerged under water, while their lungs are positioned along their back and keep the dugong in a horizontal position when swimming.
- The main predators of dugongs are killer whales, sharks, crocodiles and humans, the latter posing the biggest threat to their survival.
- Dugongs can survive for up to 70 years in the right conditions. They are slow to reach sexual maturity and have a very slow reproduction cycle. They reach sexual maturity between nine and fifteen years old and pregnancy lasts one year and ends with one calf. They only give birth every three to seven years.
- The bond between mother and calf is very strong and the baby stays very cloe to its mother for about the 18 months before going off on its own.
While we can make no promises, there might just be a slim chance that you can come face to face with this beautiful creature.
If you would like the chance to see dugons in the wild, please check out our trips below.
Image copyright WWF Indonesia (https://www.wwf.id/spesies/dugong)