What Is the Habitat of a Manatee?

habitat-manatee Credit: James R.D. Scott/Moment/Getty Images

Sometimes called a sea cow, manatees live in the warm waters of bays, rivers, estuaries and coastal waters. They are graceful and gentle mammals that have been known to reside in the North American east coast, the Amazon River and in the rivers at the west coast of Africa.

About 5,000 known manatees take primary residence in the coastal waters of Florida due to the area's natural, warm springs. Manatees are also widely found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and some frequent shallow protected bays, inshore islands and mangrove channels where they feed on the vast seagrass bed and freshwater vegetation. Manatees migrate to warmer waters during winter or when food is scarce in their habitat.