Nicknamed “The Inspector,” Betsy is known for being curious
Betsy was born to Amanda on October 19, 1990, at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, Florida, and was named after Park Ranger Betsy Dearth, a long-time employee at the park who took care of the manatees. She is the sister of Ariel, who is also a Save the Manatee Club adoptee. Betsy the manatee has been described as curious, thoughtful, and observant by park employees, and she was nicknamed “The Inspector” by Ranger Dearth. For 20 years, Betsy called the park home, but in November 2010, she started living in a new temporary home—the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. In Cincinnati, she shared tank space with two other manatees that had been rescued from Florida and were continuing their rehabilitation in Ohio. According to zoo staff, the three got along well. Betsy was by far the largest of the three at 1,800 pounds and perhaps served as a sort of “big sister” for the others. Zoo staff say that the three manatees were observed taking naps together near one of the logs in the exhibit.
In October 2017, she returned to Florida to live once again at the park. She is known to welcome any new manatees that arrive at Homosassa and is the first to investigate a fallen tree limb or any other new object that enters the spring. Once, when a film crew came to make a documentary at the park, Betsy delighted in frolicking and playing for the cameras as well as following the camera crew. She also likes to splash water with her head to get attention during the manatee education programs. She also raises her head above the water and wiggles her top lip at the ranger or volunteer handing out vitamin treats, which are part of the manatee’s diet. She may have learned this “smile” from her mother, Amanda, who apparently started this practice. You know what they say: “like mother, like daughter!”
From March to November, check our Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park live webcams to see Ariel and Betsy at the park.