Manatee Awareness & Protection Resource

Aquatic Habitat

Manatees prefer water temperatures warmer than 68º F (18º C) and, during cold winter periods, they seek out warm water sites. In addition to migrating south during winter, manatees will aggregate where water temperatures are warmer than surrounding areas, such as at natural springs, outflows from power plants or industrial plants, and dredged canals and basins. While manatees live and breed in salt water, they search out fresh drinking water from time to time. Manatees do not require freshwater for survival, but they are attracted to water with salinity levels less than 25 ppt. Thus, places where freshwater is available are more attractive to manatees and will likely have higher numbers of manatees present. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001; Barnes, 2005)

Top of Page