WHERE DO MANATEES LIVE?




The manatee favours the muddied waters of bays, lagoons, sluggish rivers and estuaries. It cannot tolerate water temperatures below 8 degrees Celsius, preferring it to be over 20 degrees Celsius, and will migrate to warmer spots if necessary. The Amazonian manatee lives only in fresh water, but the other two species are equally at home on fresh or saltwater.

Although usually occurring singly or in small family groups, during cold spells in tropical waters manatees will gather in larger numbers, around a heated discharge of a power plant or the warmer outflow of a spring. They hang vertical in the water in the cold of the early morning with little more than their snouts showing, but as the sun gets hotter, more of their bodies become visible ate the surface.

It is in such groups as these hat manatee have been observed pressing their big snouts together. This is though to be a gesture of greeting.

As a mammal, the manatee has to come to the surface to breath. It appears to be able to remain submerges for up to about 15 minutes, but generally surface at five to ten minute intervals. It cannot survive out of the water, partly because it is unable to move. And because its body weight makes it impossible for it to breath without the support of the water.

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