The Skunk Ape, also known as the Swamp Ape, Stink Ape, Florida Bigfoot, Myakka Ape, and the Myakka Skunk Ape, is a hominid cryptid said to inhabit Florida,[1] as well asNorth Carolina and Arkansas, although reports from Florida are more common. It is named for its appearance and for the unpleasant odor that is said to accompany it. According to the United States National Park Service, the Skunk Ape does not exist.[2] Reports of the Skunk Ape were particularly common in the 1960s and 1970s. In the fall of 1974, numerous sightings were reported in suburban neighborhoods of Dade County, Florida, of a large, foul-smelling, hairy, ape-like creature, which ran upright on two legs.
220px-Myakka skunk ape 1

In 2000, two photographs said to be of the Skunk Ape were taken by an anonymous woman and mailed to the Sarasota County, Florida, Sheriff's Department. The photographs were accompanied by a letter from the woman in which she claims to have photographed an ape in her backyard.[3] The woman wrote that on three different nights an ape had entered her backyard to take apples left on her back porch. She was convinced the ape was an escaped orangutan. The pictures have become known to Bigfoot enthusiasts as the "skunk ape photos."[4]

Loren Coleman is the primary researcher on the photographs, having helped track down the two photographs to an "Eckerd photo lab at the intersection of Fruitville and Tuttle Roads" in Sarasota, Florida.[5]

According to Chester Moore, Jr., the anonymous photographs were taken in Sarasota County near the Myakka River.[6]

NORTH AMERICAN APE of southern and central 


Etymology: From the animal’s intensely unpleasant 

Variant names: Abominable Florida apeman, 
Abominable swamp slob, Bardin booger, Sandman, 
Squattam’s growler.

Physical description: Height, 5–9 feet. Hair 
color, red to dark brown or black.

Behavior: Calls are a wide range of hoots, 
whistles, and screams. Aggressive toward dogs 
and humans. Seemingly vegetarian but may kill 
livestock or small game.

Tracks: Usually five-toed prints, 8–19 inches 
long. Three- or four-toed prints reported occasionally, 
as are knuckle prints, sometimes with 
opposed thumb. Toes dig in deeply.

Distribution: Southern Florida, from the Keys 
north to the Brooksville area in the west and to 
Palm Beach in the east.

Significant sightings: Trappers and fishermen 
have told stories of Skunk apes since the 1920s, 
but reports became frequent after the 1970s when 
real estate developers invaded the Everglades.

H. C. Osborn (or Osbun) was camped out 
near an Indian mound in the Fort Lauderdale 
area in February 1971 when he looked out of his 
tent and saw an 8-foot, 700-pound, apelike 
creature standing a few feet away. It was covered 
in light-brown hair and smelled awful. The next 
morning, he found five-toed prints, 17.5 inches 
long and 11 inches wide.

On June 7, 1975, twelve-year-old Ronnie 
Steves woke up in his home east of Venice, 
Florida, when he heard a disturbance in the 
duck pen outside. Investigating, he saw a 6- 
foot, dark, apelike animal that ran away. Investigators 
found 8-inch tracks with a discernible 

Everglades Day Safari tour guide Dow 
Roland saw a reddish-brown Skunk ape about 
150 feet away from Turner River Road when he 
had a half dozen tourists in his Ford van on July 
18, 1997. The tourists got two glimpses of it as 
it appeared briefly from the woods. However, 
Roland and many of the adults thought it might 
have been a man in an ape suit.

Ochopee fire control chief Vince Doerr 
snapped a vague picture of a Skunk ape on July 
21, 1997.

On September 8, 1998, David Shealy took 
twenty-seven photos of a Skunk ape after an 8- 
month vigil sitting in a tree in his backyard in 
Collier County, Florida, though only one was 
released to the public. Author and naturalist 
James McMullen examined Shealy’s photos, 
noting that the creature closely resembled the 7- 
foot, 500-pound hairy primate that he had encountered 
in August 1997 when stalking panthers 
in the Everglades. In July 2000, Shealy 
videotaped an ape lurching through a field near 
Ochopee, Florida.

In September or October 2000, a woman 
took two photos of an orangutan-like creature 
seen in a kneeling position in her backyard, near 
the Myakka River, Florida. She estimated it was 
7 feet tall. It had a strong odor and was making 
“woomp” noises. The photos were sent anonymously 
to the Sarasota County sheriff’s office, 
since the woman did not want anybody on her 

Possible explanations: 
(1) Hoaxers in ape suits. 
(2) A Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) escaped 
from a zoo, though no escapes were 
(3) An unknown ape, as reported in other 
wetlands of the southern and eastern United 

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