A Wildlife Article from All-Creatures.org

Meet a Manatee: Deep Dent

From Save the Manatee Club
April 2023

Known to be a bit shy, he is somewhat of a loner and is named for his distinctive scars.

SAD REALITY: Preliminary 2022 manatee mortality statistics have been released, and a total of 800 manatees were recorded to have died in the state of Florida in 2022. While this number is down from 1,100 deaths in 2021, the number of deaths remains above the five-year average.

Manatee Deep Dent

Deep Dent first appeared at the warm waters of Blue Spring State Park in winter 1979. We don’t know where he wintered before that but we do know he must have liked what he saw, because he has come back to Blue Spring many winters since then.

You might be wondering how Deep Dent got his name–it’s based on a deep, dent-like propeller scar on his tail. Later, he got another deep scar on his head, and he also has extensive scarring on his back. In summer 2010, he received another dent in his lower back, along with a section taken out of his tail. Manatees usually travel three to five miles per hour, and Deep Dent is proof that they are no match for fast-moving watercraft.

He is known to be a bit shy, and he is somewhat of a loner. This is not unusual for manatees. They are what is called “semisocial” animals and can be found traveling alone or occasionally with other manatees. Manatees sometimes meet in small, informal groups, but they have no leader or real herd structure. When manatees gather, it is mainly due to common habitat requirements such as warm water, food, or mating purposes.

Manatee researchers have documented that many manatees have preferred habitats they return to each year. Although Deep Dent appears to have adopted Blue Spring as his primary wintering area, he hasn’t fully committed to the park yet. His desire to travel and see other sites occasionally leads him to skip a season at Blue Spring or to depart early in the season for other destinations. This is not unusual for manatees who sometimes explore alternate warm-water sites in the winter. 

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