Marine Life of Peru | Peru Unbound

The Peruvian sea is inhabited by 33 species of marine mammals who live in different areas along the coast. Try and spot a sea lion on one of our many active tours in Peru. Contact us at (800) 214-0579 or


Amazonian Manatee


The Amazonian manatee is found living in the freshwaters of the Amazon. It has thin, wrinkled skin, and is hairless except for whiskers around its mouth.

The manatee has flexible flippers that are used to help in motion, scratching, touching and even embracing other manatees. They also use their flippers for moving food into and cleaning the mouth. These do not have nails like other manatees are known to have. The manatee’s upper lip is a large bristly surface which is deeply divided. It can move each side of the lips while feeding. This manatee is also always replacing old and worn teeth with new teeth like elephants do.

The Amazonian Manatee doesn’t have blowholes, it has nostrils that close underwater. It can remain underwater for extended period of time. It breaks through the surface every five minutes of so for air.

Manatees move with the flooding of the Amazon Basin. When food is abundant they are found in the flooded forests and meadows during flood season. When the waters recede in the drier months of July and August, it’s thought that the manatee doesn’t eat, but relies on its fat stores to survive until floods and food are prevalent again. They wait in the deeper parts of lakes until the floods return in March.

The Amazonian along with the Florida manatees are the only known manatees to vocalize. They have been observed vocalizing alone and with others, especially between cows and their calves.

Manatees feed on aquatic macrophytes like aroid, grasses, bladderworts, hornworts, water lillies, and especially water hyacinths. The manatee consumes roughly 8% of its own body weight in food per day.

The Amazonian manatee gives birth between December and July. This allows the cow and her calf to hit the time of rising river levels. After the calf is born it stays with its mother for 12-18 months. In captivity manatees have lived up to 12 years. But it’s not certain how long they can live in the wild. Natural predators include jaguars, sharks, and crocodiles.

Sea Lions and Seals

Peru is inhabited by easily viewable marine mammals such as large sea lions weighing up to 600 lbs. These creatures prefer to gather on sandy beaches. 

Small seals prefer to gather on rocks and inaccessible coastal outcrops. Both species mate between November and March, which are the perfect months for watching them.

Humpback Whale

Peru has a large variety of marine species living in the ocean as well as in rivers. Whales, river dolphins, dolphins and porpoises make up 38% of all known species in the world. It is thought that this field of interest could be developed more to encourage tourism of a new kind in Peru.

Humpback whales are the most admired of the large cetaceans. They can usually be seen on the north coast between the months of August and October when the whales mate and give birth. Tourism services offered in the area include whale-watching which allows tourists the spectacular ability to spot the whales come to the surface and leap out of the water.