Throughout the summer of 2021 the National Museum of Qatar – in collaboration with ExxonMobil Qatar – has proudly presented Dugong Trails, Seagrass Tales.
The exhibition has sought to educate, inform and entertain the people of Qatar, with a view to expanding their awareness of the animals that surround the country's coastline.
But in case you needed any more persuading, here are ten fascinating facts that you may not know about the creatures affectionately known as the 'sea cows' of Qatar.
They are more closely related to elephants than to fish.
Dugongs are not classified as fish rather; they are considered to be marine mammals. One of the dugong’s closest land relatives is the elephant. They are even able to grow tusks when they reach maturity.
They breathe oxygen from above the surface.
Dugongs are able to hold their breath for up to 11 minutes. They can also dive to depths of around 33 metres.
Dugongs are herbivores.
They are the only marine mammals that are completely herbivorous. Despite their ancestry, dugongs are referred to as 'sea cows' because of their diet, which consists solely of sea grass. They use their strong upper lips to uproot the entire plant to eat, which in turn leaves a trail of sandy paths across the sea bed.