Meet A Manatee: Deep Dent

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

Date: August 9, 2019

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

Deep Dent the manatee
Deep Dent on a visit to Blue Spring in 2018.

You might be wondering how Deep Dent got his name. It’s because he first received a deep “dent-like” scar on his tail. Later, he got another one on his head, and he also has extensive scarring on his back. In the summer of 2010, Deep Dent received another “deep dent” in the middle of his lower back, along with a section taken out of his tail. Deep Dent got these scars when he met up with motorboats and propellers, and he was definitely on the losing side of those encounters. Manatees usually only travel three to five miles per hour, and Deep Dent is proof that they are no match for fast-moving boats.

Deep Dent 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 “semi-social” 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 or food, or for mating purposes.

Deep Dent the manatee
This photo shows the “deep dent” scar in the middle of his lower back, along with a section taken out of his tail. These scars help researchers identify and track Deep Dent.

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.

Be sure to check our Blue Spring webcams and get updates for the latest news on Deep Dent and other Blue Spring manatees, and click the “Learn More” box to see scar charts for Deep Dent and the other Blue Spring manatees. Plus, see video of Deep Dent below and check out our YouTube page for additional videos.

You can also adopt Deep Dent or other manatees. For more information, go to Save the Manatee Club’s Adopt-A-Manatee page, or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).

Watch video of Deep Dent at Blue Spring State Park and see if you can spot the distinctive scars that researchers use to identify him.