What Do Manatees Eat? 6 Foods In Their Diet!

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Manatees are large, fully aquatic, primarily herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows. So, what do manatees eat? Manatees are large, herbivorous creatures that regularly weigh 1,000 lbs or more. They need to maintain their weight through various means because they can’t swim very well without it!

Maintaining manatee size is essential for many reasons- from safely navigating rough waters at sea level up to protecting them from getting killed by more giant animals who may mistake them as seaworthy due to function ( swimming), appearance(looking like an animal sitting still). It’s also true some species grow faster than others; measuring heights between individuals can give clues as to how much they’ve eaten recently.

What Do Manatees Eat?

When it comes to what manatees eat, these creatures are primarily herbivores, which means their diet consists mainly of plants. While different species of manatees have been known to eat different types of plants, the vast majority of their diet comprises seagrasses and freshwater plants. It’s not uncommon for a manatee to spend up to 12 hours grazing on these plants!

Manatees are gentle giants, and their eating habits reflect that. These creatures graze on aquatic plants, which they eat using their lips and front flippers to tear off pieces of the vegetation. Manatees are primarily herbivorous animals, and their diet consists of up to 60% of aquatic plants. The rest of their diet comprises small fish, crustaceans, and mollusks which they eat while grazing on the seagrass beds. Manatees have been known to eat over 50 different types of aquatic plants, including:


Manatees consume a variety of seagrasses, with their favorites being turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) and manatee grass (Halodule wrightii).

what do manatees eat
Manatees loves seagrasses.

Freshwater Plants: 

Manatees living in freshwater environments eat a variety of different plants, including water lilies (Nymphaea spp.), alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides), and duckweed (Lemna spp.).


Manatees are not only vegetarians, but they also have a taste for crustaceans! One of the most exciting things about manatees is that while grazing on vegetation or eating small fish like shrimp, these gentle giants will sometimes chow down upon delicious-looking crawlers such as crab larvae and grated freshwater lobster tail.


Manatees will munch on anything available, from plants or other animals. They have been seen eating snails and mussels while grazing in shallow water!


Manatees are surprisingly delicious! They love eating fruit, especially melons and grapes. Sometimes they even snack on an orange or two when it falls into their watery world.


Manatees are not only ecologically significant as a keystone species but also consume vast amounts of algae. They often eat this while grazing on seagrasses, and it’s great for their health!

While the vast majority of the manatee diet consists of plants, these creatures have also been known to eat small fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. It’s not uncommon for a manatee to consume 10-15% of its body weight in food each day!

what do manatees eat
Algae are also their favorite.

How Much Do Manatees Eat??

Manatees are large creatures, and they need to eat a lot of food to maintain their weight. It’s not uncommon for a manatee to consume 10-15% of its body weight in food each day! For a 1,000 lb manatee, this amounts to 100-150 lbs of food each day!

The grass is the mainstay of the manatee diet, and they will spend up to 12 hours each day grazing on aquatic plants. This includes seagrasses, which are their favorites, and freshwater plants. Manatees have also been known to eat fruit that has fallen into the water, such as melons, grapes, and oranges.

The manatee is a herbivore that shares its relative’s diet of plants and grass. While they are not as playful, their close relationship with elephants makes them comfortable in water where most other animals would be too afraid to go for fear of being eaten alive or, worse still – sinking below the surface!

How Do Manatees Find Food?

Manatees have keen eyesight, and they use their vision to help them find food. These creatures can also smell food from a distance, which is helpful when they are grazing on aquatic plants or looking for fruit that has fallen into the water.

In addition to their sense of sight and smell, manatees also use their whiskers to help them find food. These long, sensitive whiskers are called vibrissae, located on the manatee’s snout. The vibrissae can detect even the slightest movement in the water, which helps the manatee find food.

Manatees are fascinating creatures known for their dependence on water lettuce. They have been witnessed pulling themselves slightly out of the water to feed along banks with vegetation!

Manatees may go for long periods without food if needed, but this isn’t always harmful. These animals are well-adapted, and their low metabolic rate allows them to survive even when not eating much at all! When fasting occurs during the daytime hours (when activity levels typically decrease), manatee behavior will change too – they’ll be less playful than usual or lay down with closed eyes sleeping until morning comes along again.

Do Manatees Have Predators?

Manatees are large creatures, but they do have predators. Their main predators are large sharks, such as the tiger and great white sharks. Other predators include alligators, crocodiles, and humans.

While manatees have several predators, they are not considered endangered species. Their numbers are thought to be stable or even increasing in some parts of the world. This is because manatees have no natural predators in their native habitats, and several laws and regulations protect them.

Do Manatees Need Freshwater To Survive?

Manatees are creatures of habit, and they typically stay in the same area for their entire lives. This area is usually a freshwater river, estuary, or spring. Manatees have also lived in saltwater habitats, such as coastal bays and lagoons.

While manatees can live in freshwater and saltwater habitats, they prefer freshwater. This is because they are mammals, and their bodies are not designed to deal with saltwater. Manatees that live in saltwater habitats typically drink large amounts of fresh water to help them stay hydrated.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, what do manatees eat? These creatures are gentle giants who love to graze on aquatic plants. While different species of manatees have been known to eat different types of plants, the vast majority of their diet comprises seagrasses and freshwater plants. Manatees are also known to eat small fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. In addition, manatees have been known to eat fruit that has fallen into the water.

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