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The Skunk Ape: Bigfoot’s Stinky Cousin

Here's everything you need to know about these bizarre and horrifying creatures.


If you were burdened by a life spent hiding away in swamps and being referred to as a “skunk ape,” or even worse, a “stink ape,” you’d probably try to keep a low profile, and that’s exactly what the skunk ape does.

A hominid cryptid that is most commonly spotted in Florida, North Carolina, and Arkansas, the skunk ape was given its name for exactly the reasons you would guess … it stinks. The beast’s odor, said to smell similar to that of rotten eggs or methane gas, is most likely caused by their preference for hiding out in alligator dens polluted by swamp gas, and other mucky areas often surrounded by animal carcasses. It’s also said that they get their calling-card odor from simply not bathing but, really, why would they when they’re already called a “stink ape?” What’s the point?

Based on research compiled by the Skunk Ape Headquarters, an adult male skunk ape can weigh as much as 450 pounds, and average about six to seven feet in height. While similar to Bigfoot on the surface, the skunk ape differs from its hairy cousin in many ways. While they do prefer to travel alone, it has been spotted traveling in packs several times. Female skunk apes are easy to pick out from the crowd as they are considerably smaller than the male—coming in at an average of 180-250 pounds, and five to six feet tall. They’re omnivorous, eating both plants as well as meat, and are especially active in the winter months while they’re foraging for food to stockpile.

Skunk Apes are notoriously elusive and are not thought to be particularly dangerous, but if you should come across one it’s advised that you turn back around, like the guy in the video below did:

In a 2014 Smithsonian article, skunk ape researcher Dave Shealy talks about his nearly life-long fascination with skunk apes since first spotting one at only 10-years-old.

“It was walking across the swamp, and my brother spotted it first. But I couldn’t see it over the grass—I wasn’t tall enough,” Shealy says to Smithsonian. “My brother picked me up, and I saw it, about 100 yards away. We were just kids, but we’d heard about it, and knew for sure what we were looking at. It looked like a man, but completely covered with hair.”

Now in his mid-50s Shealy is among others who are wholeheartedly dedicated to studying and tracking the beasts–even hosting expeditions in Florida where you can join him in his ongoing search. Maybe you’ll be be lucky enough to have a rare sighting like the one in his video below:

Featured Photo via Cryptid Wiki