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West Indian Manatees are commonly found in shallow coastal areas, shallow rivers, springs, bays, estuaries, canals and lagoonsWest Indian Manatees generally require water that is at least one meter in depth.

Photo by Kathryn R. CarlsonThey occupy fresh and salt water habitats West Indian manatees typically reside in regions of North America, Central America and the West Indies. Specifically located in  Florida and Georgia.






Photo by Kathryn R. CarlsonThey prefer a water temperature of about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. They cannot survive cold weather. When water temperatures drop below 20 degrees Celsius they begin to move towards warmer water.






Some West Indian Manatees make long seasonal migrations south to avoid cold weather temperatures.  Some may make local movements where the temperature of the water is constant such as industrial effluents and natural ground water discharges.  Humans have actually led to an increase in a suitable habitats for manatees with the release of warm water from power plants and factories into the rivers and flood channels. Large groups of animals may be found at the specific locations during the winter. 


Photo located at http://cars.er.usgs.gov/pics/manatee/manatee/manatee_26.htmlWest Indian Manatees seem to favor costal habitats that are protected from heavy wave action.  They seem to prefer areas in still or moderately flowing water such as effluent canals, tidal creeks, spring runs, large slow-flowing rivers.  West Indian Manatees will even live in highly urbanized areas if there is a source of food and as long as excessive harassment does not occur.