It’s said that a mysterious creature dwells deep within the Florida Everglades, a large ape that walks upright and stands over seven feet tall. When sightings of it throughout Florida were at their peak in the 1960’s, it was dubbed the “Skunk Ape”. Why call it Skunk Ape and not just Florida Bigfoot? Well, nearly all reported encounters with it mention it smelling like anything from moldy garbage to rotten eggs, or even a skunk.

Sightings in the Everglades and Beyond

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While not as frequent as they were in the 1960’s and 1970’s, sightings of the Skunk Ape are reported in Florida every year, some outside of the Everglades. One of the most noteworthy encounters occurred in the fall of 2000, referred to as the “Myakka Skunk Ape”. The Sarasota Sheriff’s Department received two photographs depicting a large, upright ape along with an anonymous letter from the alleged photograph.

In the letter, which was apparently written by an elderly woman, she snapped photos of the animal she believed had been taking apples she had left in her backyard. The encounter has been picked apart by debunkers and cryptid fans alike. But while the story and creature are scrutinized, the pictures have been confirmed as real and not doctored.

Skunk Ape – Florida Hide and Seek Champion

Apart from being stinky, the Skunk Ape can definitely be described as elusive. Despite a steady flow of video footage from alleged encounters and molds made from footprints, the National Park Service denies the existence of the creature. They cite their many wildlife life trail cameras showing no such animal, or having never discovered any trace of bones in the Everglades.

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But some of the believers would be quick to tell you that with the Florida Everglades covering 1.5 million acres, and much of it rarely visited by humans, a reclusive animal could thrive there unnoticed without a trace.

A Symbol of a Mysterious Swamp

The Everglades is truly a vast place, full of Florida wildlife capable of deceiving the eyes of the casual visitor. When taking a private airboat tour, you might notice an alligator that you assumed was a floating log, or a diving anhinga that you thought was a water snake. The Skunk Ape isn’t just a campfire tale, but a symbol of the mystery of the Florida wilderness.

Still, don’t hold your breath hoping to see it. But if you do, hold your nose.