Ever Seen a Dugong?

Have you ever seen a dugongin the wild? What would you compare it to? Have you touched one?
I only recently learned of the dugong; they don’t get much press here in the States, probably b/c we already have manatees so our interest ends there. But on reading more I see they can cry, the bones of their hands are very similar to humans and that makes me more sympathetic than I probably would have been if they were a kind of starfish.

Never seen one, although I’d love to, but here’s a short clip of a couple at Sydney Zoo. I know the photographer put up some stills on Flickr as well.

edit because there’s more than one of them!

Are dugongs and manatees the same animal only with different names?

No. They are both members of the mammalian Order Sirenia, but they are of different Families. There are a number of differences between them.

As for the question in the OP, no, but I have canoed with manatees in the Wakulla River, Florida. It was amazing how enormous and how gentle they are.

Same order, the Sirenia. For one thing, their teeth are different from a manatee’s teeth.

ETA-Shoulda knowed Ogre’d beat me to it!

This diagram briefly outlines some Dugong vs Manatee differences.

The most obvious difference is the tail; manatees have a paddle tail and dugongs have flukes a bit like a whale.

I first learned of dugongs on the children’s program The Wild Thornberrys on Nick about 10 years ago.

(For those who never saw it: It was a cute program; the family traveled the world as documentary filmmakers and one of the daughters could talk to animals. She had a chimp named Darwin. :smiley: Tim Curry was the voice of the dad.)

Yes, I’ve seen them a couple of times in Moreton Bay, which is the bay adjacent to Brisbane. It’s shallow and (at least at the moment) has large beds of seagrass on which dugongs feed. I understand the seagrass beds are going the way of the dodo, and that the dugongs will be starved out over coming years which is sad.

The first time I saw one was while crossing the bay, in deep water. It was a pretty short glimpse, but good enough to be very sure what we’d seen. The second time was while on a yacht anchored in Horseshoe Bay on Peel Island in Moreton Bay and in that case we saw them repeatedly in the same spot, presumably because they were feeding and we saw them each time they came up for a breath. They are shy though and were probably fifty yards off. All you could really see was a large rounded gray back and to some extent their head. Quite distinctive. There was a smaller young one there also.

No, I don’t have that pokemon yet.

Were you expecting to see them? Here in the States it’s a big deal to swim w/ manatees and dolphins, is there something like that w/ dugongs where you were?

The habitat of the dugong extends all the way to Thailand; but fat chance of seeing one around here. They’ve probably been eaten to extinction in the region.

There are dugong in the Red Sea and down the coast of East Africa, as well as S. E. Asia…

I wasn’t expecting to see them as such. We weren’t looking for them. However, they are a well known presence and it wasn’t particularly surprising to see them.

There aren’t any organised “swim with the dugongs” activities that I’m aware of in Moreton Bay. I suspect they would be regarded as too endangered to risk interfering with them in any way, and as I say they are known for being shy.

Have a look at this: http://branches.wildlife.org.au/bayside/pdfs/DWMar07.pdf

You can see Peel Island in the middle at the bottom of the map. Horseshoe Bay where I saw them is on the southern side. You can see it is known dugong habitat.

Interestingly, the first one I saw was well to the North in the middle of the bay in deep water which would be out of the dugong’s normal feeding range. Presumably it was on its way between feeding areas. The coxswain of the boat I was on commented that he had never seen one before, in 25 years of working on the Bay. No doubt because his work concerns ships which stick to the deep areas and stay well away from the shallows.

I’ve actually eaten the flesh of the dugong. The babies taste similar to veal.

This was years ago when I lived on Thursday Island. It is legal for the Islanders to catch them.

No, but I have seen a Budong

That’s where I first heard of them, actually. They’re not as cute as the Pokemon version but they’re still pretty sweet.

Indeed. They’re always being found dead on southern-Thai beaches. But there’s one in Ocean World, that big aquarium in the basement of Siam Paragon here in Bangkok.

Today we’re going to learn about dugongs. They look like manatees, they act like manatees, they smell like manatees but brother, they ain’t manatees.

If you saw a dugong, you’d probably want to give it makeover, but dugongs won’t let you. Oprah tried giving some dugongs a makeover and afterwards, when the dugongs came out still uglier than Oprah, well they swore off the makeover idea all together.

The scientific name for the dugong is “that big seal-y thing.” They are also mentioned in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, where Adam says, “What are you gonna do with that big pile of crap”? And God makes a dugong out of it.

The dugong is easy distinguished from a manatee by its tail, which has a tattoo that says, “I’m not a manatee”

Dugongs were first sighted in the United States in Massachusetts Bay, by Joseph and Rose Kennedy who upon seeing one said, “I thought we gave her a lobotomy.”

Like their cousin the manatee, they are curious by nature and are often described as the “Mrs Kravitz” of the oceans. This buttinski nature has lead to them being beaten up routinely by killer whales, crocodiles and sharks.

Dugongs like their cousins the manatees often have problems with motorboats. This is due to their forgetful nature, and they don’t put enough gasoline in them. Therefore, they get half way out in the ocean and they run out of gas.

The dugong is classified as endangered but this is not really a concern because they’re so ugly, scientists actually HOPE they all die off.

For more information about Dugongs contact the fat lady librarian who is always mad.

So you’re the guy who did the Honey Badger video.