Dugong Habitat Facts


Dugong can only live in water and herbivore is a marine mammal. This animal belongs to the Afrotheria top team and its scientific name is Sirenia. The trichecdiae family of 3 species of sea cows (manatee), dugong (dugong dugon) and steller sea cows are located in dugongidae family. The only representative of the dugongidae family living today is dugong (dugong dugon). The Steller sea cow was extinct about 300 years ago. Dugong is a mammal animal, also known as “sea cow”. Only 4 species of Dugongs remain today, however, elephants are the closest relatives among the animals living today. Dugongs are in the third largest marine mammal group after whales and pinnipeds. As a structure, it looks like bear fish and sea elephant. What makes this animal a sea cow is that it eats sea weeds and algae called sea meadows, therefore, it is not carnivorous but herbivorous. They are very similar in appearance to Manati. The biggest difference from Manati is that it has a tail similar to that of a dolphin. Since they look like women from above, they are always thought of as sea girls in sea legends. Although it is known to be cute and harmless, it is a marine mammal that scares with its size when you see it.

A Dugong enjoying the sea

Dugong Facts

  • These animals are not in a structure suitable for moving on land.
  • Dugongs are extremely calm and harmless, peacefully animals.
  • Whales can swim in deep waters, but dugongs cannot swim too far. They usually stay near land or in fresh waters, such as rivers.
  • Dugongs have a large, cylindrical body.
  • Body size of the species living today is 2.50 meters in size.
  • These animals reach a weight of 250 – 1500 kg.
  • The forelegs took the form of fins and the hind legs joined together to become a bigger, flat fin.
  • It is a medium-sized marine mammal.
  • The sizes can reach up to 3 meters, and their weight can reach half a tone.
  • Dugongs are long-lived creatures and the longest recorded life is 73 years old.
  • From the outside, dugongs are easily distinguishable from other sea cow species.
  • The dugong’s tails are pointed and padded-shaped tail like whales. Tails of other species are similar to platypus.
  • Dugongs do not have dorsal fins.
  • Habitat loss, fishing activities and hunting cause Dugong’s extinction.
  • Dugongs are highly susceptible to diseases, especially parasitic diseases affect dugongs very much.
  • They have large heads and necks.
  • Dugongs do not have hind legs, however, the paddle-shaped tail aids movement in the water. The heavy bones allow them to roll over the mud at the bottom of the water.
  • They spend about 8 hours a day grazing and can eat up to 50 kg of sea grass per day.
  • The mouth is distinctive with ventral mouth opening under the head, also, the mouth area is covered with short and sparsely located hair.
  • There are scattered fine hairs on the body and the dorsal and ventral of the body are slightly bronze-gray.
  • The eyes of the Dugons are small and not distinct, the ears are in the form of small openings on both sides of the head.
  • The nostrils are located close to each other in the anterior-dorsal part of the head, so they can breathe air just by removing the upper part of the head on the water surface.
  • The fins of dugons are short.
  • Unlike West India and West African sea cows, these animals have no nails.
  • Their skull is noticeably enlarged and is quite strong in men.
  • Dugong’s teeth do not constantly grow backwards horizontally, male dugongs have 2 incisors that appear during adolescence.
  • Dugong’s ribs and long bones are very rigid and contain little or no marrow, these heavy bones are among the densest bones in the animal kingdom. Dugongs use these heavy bones to hang a little under the water surface and balance.
    The pair of a mother and a child



  • There is not much information about the habitats of sea cows, most of the information obtained is based on observations from the air and shore.
  • Dugongs live in Indonesian waters.
  • Dugongs generally live in shallow coves rich in seagrass, protected against strong winds and waves, also, dugongs are located in 43 countries along the western pacific and Indian oceans.
  • They are found especially in East Africa, Japan, the Persian Gulf, the Philippines and Australia.
  • The living areas of sea cow species living today are disjointed and two different species do not exist anywhere. Dugong, the only representative of the family of dugong family, lives only in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
  • During the winter months, Dugong escape from the cold waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean and go to some rivers and water resources in Florida.



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Scientific classification of Dugong Habitat Facts

Dugong Habitat Facts


Dugong is a calm and quiet water animal. They move very slowly. The behavior of dugong is nursing, that is the reason human like these mammals and also very easily hunters catch them for their meat, oil, skin, bones, and teeth.
Dugongs are mainly found in warm coastal waters from the western Pacific Ocean to the eastern coast of Africa. They also spread in South Asia, Southern Pacific outside of Australia, Northern Pacific.
Dugong is a herbivorous animal and love to eat sea plants and leaves even roots. Their main diet includes sea grass and whole sea plant. They occasionally eat invertebrates such as jellyfish, sea squirts, and shellfish.
A certain mating time and mating behavior of the dugongs is unknown. Female dugong mate multiple times with more than one male animal within a year and there is no competition between men during mating. Their pregnancy lasts for 12 - 14 months, the baby is born in the water and immediately surfaced. When it is born, it weighs 10 - 30 kg and feeds with breast milk for the first 18 months, stays near its mother for a few months.It becomes adolescent between 6-10 years. Manati live for about 40 years and dugongs live for about 60 years.

Dugong Habitat Facts

Dugong Habitat Facts

Conservation status:


Scientific Classification


Dugongs are herbivores. They feed on sea grass, algae, other aquatic plants and tree leaves hanging over some water. Dugongs feed only on plants that are at the bottom of the water, it is not known how much animal food they consume. While eating vegetative food, it unintentionally swallows the small animals in between, thus eliminating the need for protein.

Binomial name

Dugong dugon

Range of the Dugong Habitat Facts

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