When one thinks of southern Florida, images of loud retirees from New York and New Jersey may come to mind. Or maybe you think of fishing off the shores of Key West. Or perhaps you’re more of a nightlife person who enjoys dancing to a Latin beat.
All of these things are true aspects of southern Florida, but they represent such a small proportion of the overall land area. Not far from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Miami, but still in Dade County, you’ll find a world that is still wild and mostly untouched by civilization.
The Florida Everglades comprise the south central region of Florida and also extend into the metropolitan areas of Miami and Orlando. Wildlife abounds within the Everglades, or the “Glades” as locals call them. Although the Everglades are a swampy, jungle-type ecosystem, they are home to native populations of pumas, black bears, and a host of fish and fowl.
They are also reportedly the home of a Sasquatch-type creature named the “Skunk Ape.”
Sightings of the Skunk Ape began in the late 1960s, and by 1974, sightings in suburban Dade County became so common that they made the local news. The Skunk Ape is described as a tall, hairy bipedal creature, much like Bigfoot. But, unlike Bigfoot, the Skunk Ape is usually accompanied by a rancid, sulfur-type smell, which is how it got the “skunk” part of its name. Apparently, Bigfoot’s southern cousin is not too big on hygiene.
Sightings of the Skunk Ape continued through the 1980s and ’90s and were reported more and more throughout the state. In 2000, the Sarasota Police Department received an anonymous letter with two photographs of what many people believe is the Skunk Ape, although skeptics think it is an orangutan. Skeptics believe that in most Skunk Ape sightings people actually are seeing something, but what they are usually seeing is one of the Sunshine State’s many black bears.
But many cryptozoologists—people who study and document the existence of “hidden” animals or animals believed to be extinct—think that the Skunk Ape is actually a subspecies of animal that is related to the Bigfoot of the Pacific Northwest.
They believe that some Sasquatches prefer the warmer climate of sunny Florida.
As with the Skunk Ape’s better known cousin from the northwest, sightings of the Florida Bigfoot ebb and flow. Curiously, they seem to go up when there is a new news report about the creature! Skunk Ape interest has increased with the popularity of YouTube, with people uploading their own takes on the creature. They can also watch the footage from a video of one taken by a hunter in the Everglades in 2000.
A few small expeditions have been launched to find the elusive Skunk Ape, but just like his cousin in the northwest, it looks like the Skunk Ape wants to be left alone.