Meet A Manatee: Robin
He has a habit of “pacing” the spring run

Deep Dent
Robin has a noticable scar on his back from a watercraft collision that happened when he was only three years old. (Photo courtesy U.S. Geological Survey, Sirenia Project)

Most adult manatees living in the wild bear scars from watercraft collisions, and Robin is no exception. He has a long mark on his back that he received when he was only three years old. But researchers who track the manatees at Blue Spring State Park would know Robin even if he didn’t have an identifying scar. That’s because Robin has a habit of traveling back and forth or “pacing” the spring run.

Robin was born to Wonder Woman on April 15, 1980. We know the exact date of his birth because Wonder Woman was wearing a tracking device at the time. Mother manatees nurse their young for one to two years, so a calf may remain dependent on its mother during that time. Robin decided to nurse for the full two years and continued to keep company with his mom for some time, even after he was weaned.

Manatees found in fresh water often have algae growing on their backs. That's the "green stuff" you see on Robin's back. (Photo © Walker Stanberry/SMC)

As a rule, manatees are semi-social, somewhat solitary animals. But Robin seems more social than semi-social, and he is often seen in the company of other Blue Spring manatees such as Phyllis, Floyd, Philip, Merlin, Brutus, Dana, and Lily.

Robin comes in regularly to the warm waters of Blue Spring State Park each winter. However, he tends to wait until a bit later in the season to arrive. Manatee season usually runs from November through March, but Robin is often “fashionably late” and frequently arrives in December.

The last two seasons, however, Robin has surprised everyone by arriving early in November. He stayed until nearly the last day of the season in 2008, but this year, Robin left early – heading out for the summer on February 21st. All told, it was a warm winter, and that may have had something to do with it.

Ranger Wayne Hartley, who tracks the manatees at Blue Spring, related a funny story one year that demonstrates Robin’s apparent ability to focus. It seems that Robin was pacing the run one day when a group of resting manatees was suddenly startled by a noise. Ranger Wayne said he saw the startled manatees all head downstream together. In the middle of them, undaunted, was Robin – working his way back upstream!

By nature, manatees are semi-social, somewhat solitary animals. But Robin seems more social than semi-social, and he is often seen in the company of other manatees. (Photo © Walker Stanberry/SMC)

Print Order Form
(new members)

Print Order Form
(renewing members)