Manatee FAQ: Habitat
Q. Is it common for manatees to have barnacles?
(Click link to get answer)
Q. Are the manatees in Belize the same species
found in Florida? What are the other different types of manatee
species around the world? (Click link to get answer)
Q. Where do manatees live?
A. Florida manatees are found in shallow,
slow-moving rivers, bays, estuaries and coastal water ecosystems of
the southeastern United States. They can live in fresh, brackish or
salt water. Manatees prefer waters that are about one to two meters
(3-7 feet) deep. Along the coast, manatees tend to travel in water
that is about three to five meters (10 - 16 feet) deep, and they
are rarely seen in areas over six meters (20 feet) deep. This
habitat provides them with sheltered living and breeding areas, a
steady, easily obtainable food supply, and warm water -- all of
which they need to survive.
Find out where other sirenian species
Q. What kind of animals live in the same
area as manatees?
A. Manatees share their habitat with many living
things. It is not uncommon, for example, to see a manatee swimming
near a tarpon, resting next to a sea turtle, or surfacing beside a
brown pelican in a marine environment. Sharks, rays, snook,
snapper, flounder, and oysters are found in the manatee's marine
environment as well. However, manatees are also found in fresh
water. In the manatee's freshwater habitat, you can find river
otters and fish such as largemouth bass, sheepshead, gar, and
bluegills. You can also find freshwater turtles and frogs.
Freshwater invertebrates would include snails, mollusks, and
insects. Some species that are found in both freshwater and marine
environments include ospreys, bald eagles, alligators, herons,
egrets, and snakes.
Q. How far do manatees
A. Florida manatees are somewhat migratory. In the
winter, usually November through march, the manatee population is
concentrated primarily in Florida. Water temperatures below 21
degrees C (70 degrees F) usually cause manatees to move into warm
refuge areas. Manatees are susceptible to cold-related disease, and
they congregate near natural springs or warm water effluents of
In the summer months, manatees are much more widely distributed.
They travel freely around Florida's rivers and coastal waters. A
few manatees may range as far west as Texas and as far north as
Virginia (one manatee was even documented in Cape Cod,
Massachusetts), but these sightings are rare. Summer sightings in
Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are relatively common.
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