Meet A Manatee: Phyllis

In 1991, she gave birth to twins — a rare event for manatees

Date: April 10, 2018

Phyllis the manatee
Phyllis is a regular visitor to Blue Spring State Park and sometimes comes in the summer.

In general, the reproductive rate for manatees is low. One calf is usually born every two to five years, and twins are rare. For this reason, it was very exciting when Phyllis arrived at Blue Spring on November 5, 1991, with not just one, but two calves! Her twin boys were named Bartram and Bertram after a famous Florida explorer of the nearby St. Johns River and a noted manatee researcher. Both calves are quite grown up now, and Phyllis has had several calves since that time and gave birth to a little calf at Blue Spring State Park in August 2020.

When her own calves are not keeping her busy, Phyllis regularly nurses other young manatees. This is not unusual, as female manatees will often look after and nurse the calves of other mothers. Phyllis is a regular visitor to Blue Spring during the cold winter months, and she often comes in more times than the other manatees. In fact, she has earned the title of “Attendance Champion” several times. From time to time, she will even come to visit the spring during the summer months. Phyllis is a playful, friendly manatee who likes to socialize with other manatees.

Phyllis is available for adoption, and each person who adopts her will receive a full-color photo, biography, and adoption certificate, as well as a membership handbook and subscription to The Manatee Zone, a newsletter featuring updates on the adopted manatees when they are sighted, and Paddle Tales, Save the Manatee Club’s bi-monthly eNewsletter. For more information about adopting Phyllis, go to Save the Manatee Club’s Adopt-A-Manatee page, or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).

And be sure to watch for Phyllis and other manatees on the Blue Spring webcams at and read updates from Manatee Specialist Wayne Hartley.

See video of Phyllis and her new calf, recorded on the Blue Spring webcams in May 2018.


Watch more video of Phyllis at Blue Spring State Park.