The Skunk Ape is a "big foot" type creature that is said to inhabit the wilds of a handful of southern United States, including Florida, North Carolina, as well as Arkansas.They are hairy, humanoid, bipedal creatures. The Skunk Ape received its name for the notorious odor that is said to accompany it. The scent is said to be a bad one, like that of rotten eggs or methane, hence "Skunk Ape." The Skunk Ape is believed to live in subterranean dens beneath swamps or marshes, especially in the Everglades (an area expected to be home to a number of these creatures). Although an actual specimen has never been recovered for study Skunk Apes are apparently able to grow up to six-seven feet tall, and to weights upwards of four-hundred pounds. They are extremely elusive creatures that are expected to have an extremely keen sense of hearing that is largely responsible for the rarity of human encounters. Skunk Apes are omnivorous creatures that practice a hunter/gatherer type lifestyle consuming a variety of edible plants and small to large animals.
The Skunk Ape is known by a variety of names, none of which are as common. They include: Stink Ape, Myakka Ape, Florida Bigfoot, Swamp Ape, and Swampsquatch. While the origin of these names are largely unknown, a similar creature in the Northwest United States is referred to as, "sasquatch,"; an English derivative of the Halkomelem word sásq'ets. It was a British Columbian, J.W. Burns that popularized the term, "sasquatch," after having used it in his stories in Canadian newspapers.
Folk History Edit
The origin of the Skunk Ape is largely unknown due to its elusive tendencies, but there is a rough history of alleged encounters throughout time. Old legends of Indians native to Florida refer to giants that lived along the Kissimmee river; despite being referred to as, "mangrove," or, "sand people," many believe that these stories may have in fact been about skunk apes. The first official record of an encounter with this unknown species was the story of an early Orange County pioneer by the name of Henry Tanner. Mr. Tanner spoke of, "finding Indian graves on the Saint John's River with skeletons as big as giants and skulls that would fit over a normal man's head." The next record we have concerning any evidence of these creatures is from 1935. A number of workers responsible for excavating a shells from an Indian mound claim to have found what appeared to be a human thigh bone that was, "as long as a man's whole leg." Stories of alleged encounters continue to accumulate; they range from an encounter between three boy scouts and a skunk ape that was rummaging through their campsite, to a trucker who was dragged from his truck as he tried to sleep at a rest stop. The stories of encounters are innumerable and consistent.Thousands of sightings eventually resulted in the passing of Florida State Bill (H.B. 1664) to protect the creature: "Any person taking, possessing, harming or molesting any anthropoid or humanoid animal which is native to Florida, popularly known as the Skunk Ape, or doing any act reasonably capable of harming or molesting such animals..."
Modern Encounters Edit
It wasn't until 2000 that clear pictures of the Skunk Ape were produced. The authenticity of the pictures has been questioned, but as of now the photographs are still regarded by skunk ape enthusiasts as being real.
List of Texts/Media Edit
Besides being mentioned in various informational texts about the State of Florida and it's various folklore and interesting facts the Skunk Ape is not mentioned largely in much media.
It is however mentioned in a number of cryptozoology texts such as:
Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers
The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mysterious Primates Worldwide
Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America
The Skunk Ape has also been mentioned on a handful of documentary type T.V. shows such as:
Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: "Swamp Ape"
"Skunkape Headquarters | Skunk Ape." Skunkape Headquarters. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
Carlson, Charlie. "Weird Florida." Weird Florida. Weird U.S., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
"Finding Bigfoot Episodes." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
Nickell, Joe. "Mysterious Entities of the Pacific Northwest, Part I." - CSI. Skeptical Enquirer, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
Nickell, Joe. "Tracking Florida's Skunk Ape." - CSI. Skeptical Enquirer, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
Stromberg, Joseph. "On the Trail of Florida's Bigfoot-the Skunk Ape." Smithsonian. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
Lammle, Rob. "Strange States: Florida's Skunk Ape." Mental Floss. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.