What is a Skunk Ape?

G. Melanson

Also known as the “Stink Ape”, the Skunk Ape is a bipedal, ape-like cryptid similar to a Bigfoot or Sasquatch. It is said to inhabit swamps in the Southeastern United States; most notably, in the Florida Everglades. The Skunk Ape got its name from the foul odor it reportedly emits, which has been compared to Hydrogen Sulfide or rotten eggs. Some people speculate this is because the Skunk Ape allegedly makes its nest in abandoned alligator dens and caves which are often filled with rotting animal carcasses and swamp gas.

Skunk apes are said to inhabit swamps in the Southeastern United States.
Skunk apes are said to inhabit swamps in the Southeastern United States.

Reports of the Skunk Ape began circulating in the 1960s and escalated in the 1970s, when several eyewitnesses reported similar stories of having glimpsed a large, hairy hominid weighing over 450 lbs (204 kg) and standing six to seven feet (about 2m) tall. The new millennium has seen an increase in reported Skunk Ape sightings, including witnesses who claim to have been hit on the head with a stick by the creature, glimpsed it skulking along a roadside clutching stolen corn, or even watched it fall through the roof of a log cabin before diving through a window to escape.

The so-called skunk ape was described by one woman as an escaped orangutan.
The so-called skunk ape was described by one woman as an escaped orangutan.

Perhaps the strongest evidence to support the Skunk Ape’s existence is the Myakka Photographs which were anonymously mailed to the Sarasota Sheriff's Department in 2000. The two photos depict a hulking, ape-like creature covered in shiny, reddish fur with its bottom teeth exposed in a snarl. A letter accompanied the photos from a woman who claimed to have photographed the creature near her backyard where it allegedly returned for three nights in a row and stole apples from a bushel on her porch. The woman believed the creature to be an escaped orangutan, and although police were dispatched several times to investigate, the creature was gone by the time they arrived. Cryptozoology expert, Loren Coleman analyzed the photographs and noted that they show details as yellow canines, forehead lines, and fingernails.

Skeptics of the Skunk Ape’s existence point to the fact that none of the reported sightings of the creature have come from any of the forest rangers who regularly patrol Florida’s large, natural woodlands and would be the most likely witnesses. Skeptics also note the money generated by the perpetuation of the Skunk Ape legend, particularly by those who run roadside Skunk Ape souvenir stands, who also happen to be among the creature’s alleged eye-witnesses. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) are also part of the alleged eye-witnesses, who embarked on a Florida Skunk Ape expedition in 2008, which 30 enthusiasts paid $300 US Dollars each to participate in.

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