Dugongs | WWF


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Dugongs have been recorded throughout the Andaman Sea.
© WWF / Jürgen FREUND
In the Goblet of Fire, Harry had to enter the underwater world of the merpeople to rescue his friend Ron. The myth of the mermaid first came about when early explorers and sailors described sightings of mother dugongs lying on their backs, cradling their young in their flippers to suckle.
Dugongs (Dugong dugon) are large grey mammals which spend their entire lives in the sea. Fully grown, they may be 3m long and weigh 400kg. They have a thick layer of fat giving them a distinctly rotund posture, small paddle-like flippers positioned far forward on the body and a broad, flattened, powerful tail that resembles the tail of whale. They have nostrils near the top of their snouts.

They are sometimes called 'sea cows' because they graze on seagrasses.

Can hold its breath for over 15 minutes
Though aquatic the dugong breathes air through lungs and gives birth to live young. They are also extraordinary in their ability to dive for food with fully inflated lungs and to stay underwater for as long as 15 minutes.

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