Meet A Manatee: Philip

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Meet A Manatee: Philip

From Save The Manatee

Social and curious, he’s a late, but frequent, visitor

Although he looks large in the photo, Philip is actually small compared to most adult male manatees. (Photo by Jim Reid, U.S. Geological Survey, Sirenia Project)

One of the ways researchers recognize Philip is by the large, white scar that runs across his back. It’s from a boat hit injury Philip received when he was just one year old. Another way that researchers know Philip is by his size, because he is small compared to most adult male manatees.

Philip gives us a close view of the boat hit scar he received when he was one year old. (Photo by Wayne Hartley, FDEP)

Ranger Wayne Hartley, who tracks the manatees at Blue Spring State Park, thinks Philip may be small because he only nursed for one year. Typically, manatee calves nurse anywhere from a year to two years. Philip’s mom was Phoebe, and he was born during the summer of 1982. Phoebe brought her new calf to Blue Spring that winter, and Philip has returned for every manatee season since that time.

Known for being curious, Philip seems to enjoy checking out the camera equipment of researchers or nature photographers when they are in the spring run. He also likes to follow along behind Ranger Wayne or the other rangers at the park when they take the canoe out in the morning to count and identify the manatees in the spring run.

Philip is social and likes to hang out with the other manatees. He’s been known to “pester” the female manatees and has often been spotted with Lucille, Phyllis, Dana, and Lily. He also hangs out with Brutus, Howie, and Paddy Doyle and spends time with his big brother Floyd, another Blue Spring manatee. When Philip is not at Blue Spring, he often travels to nearby DeLeon Springs State Park.

Philip is what Ranger Wayne calls a “Tail-End Charlie,” or one of the last manatees to appear for the winter season. He often waits until late November or December to put in his first appearance. However, once Philip is in, he’s IN and makes an average of 20 to 40 visits each winter. He often remains at Blue Spring to the very end of the season (usually March) before heading out during the warm summer months.

This year, the manatee season at Blue Spring started on October 29th – a new record. It got chilly early and then warmed up again. Many manatees showed up for the first cold snap, but not Philip. True to form, Philip held out for the real start of winter and arrived at the end of November. He put in several visits before striking out at the end of February for his summer stomping grounds.

Known for being social, Philip (far right) is frequently spotted with other manatees at Blue Spring State Park. (Photo © Walker Stanberry)

See a wonderful manatee slide show.

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