Manatees are so much more than cuddly, sentient potatoes! They're intelligent! They have great long-term memory! They can learn sign language! They're...really really cute!
Yes, no matter how intellectual the Manatee, no one can deny how gosh darn adorable they are. Figuring out how to make a Snake Squishable is gonna take some thought, but a Squishable Cow of the Sea? Well it pretty much just designs itself! Never before was a creature so optimized for snuggles, something that can be claimed by very few sentient potatoes.