American Oceans

Where Do Manatees Live?

Manatees are unique marine mammals that are known for their gentle nature and slow movements.

manatees mating in a marsh

They are also known as sea cows due to their herbivorous diet and their grazing behavior. Manatees are found in the shallow waters of rivers, estuaries, and coastal areas, and they are known to inhabit both freshwater and saltwater environments.

There are three species of manatees, the West Indian manatee, the Amazonian manatee, and the West African manatee. Each species has its own unique habitat and range.

The West Indian manatee, for example, is found in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, while the Amazonian manatee inhabits the Amazon River and its associated drainage areas.

The West African manatee, on the other hand, is found in the rivers and coastal areas of West Africa.

Manatees are fascinating creatures, and understanding their habitat and range is crucial to their conservation and protection.

Manatee Habitat

Manatees, also known as sea cows, are aquatic mammals that can be found in both freshwater and saltwater habitats.

manatees swimming in a river in florida

They are part of the Sirenia order, which includes dugongs and manatees. Manatees are known for their gentle nature, slow movements, and voracious appetite.

Freshwater Manatee Habitats

Manatees inhabit rivers, springs, and freshwater lakes, where they can find extensive beds of seagrass and abundant freshwater aquatic vegetation, which provide their primary food sources.

indian manatees eating plants

In Florida, manatees can be found in estuaries and coastal areas, moving freely between fresh, saline, and brackish waters.

Warm water refuges are also important for manatees during the winter months when water temperatures drop.

Saltwater Manatee Habitats

Manatees can be found in shallow waters, inlets, and coastal waters of the Caribbean, South America, and West Africa.

manatees swimming in the water in florida

The West Indian manatee historically inhabited the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, while the Amazonian manatee inhabits the Amazon River and associated drainage areas, including seasonally inundated forests.

This species lives only in fresh water and can be found far inland through Brazil to Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated critical habitat areas for manatees, which are important for the conservation and recovery of the species.

These areas include the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean, where manatees are known to congregate and rely on for their survival.

Manatee habitats are important for maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Manatees play a significant role in the environment by grazing on seagrass, which helps to prevent overgrowth and keeps the water clear.

They also serve as an indicator species, which means that the health of their population can indicate the overall health of the environment they inhabit.

Water Temperature

Manatees are found in warm, shallow waters and can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures.

manatee eating

They are most commonly found in water temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, but can survive in water temperatures as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods of time.

Add comment