Phil is a mute chimpanzee who has dark brown fur. Although mute, he is an avid reader. Phil communicates with American Sign Language and can read. Mason can translate his sign language. In near stark contrast to Mason, Phil is the "Oscar" of the Chimpanzees, being more dirty and temperamental.
Phil is the lighter colored of the two chimps and is a mute who uses sign language as his means of communication. He even signs while he is dreaming. He knows how to read the English language and often interprets things for Mason. Although ASL is traditionally used by the deaf- and the hearing-impaired, Phil is neither, as evidenced by "Assault and Batteries" when he jammed bananas in his ears to drown out Julien's obnoxious music.
Interestingly, in the Penguins of Madagascar comic book, he is able to talk.