Marco Island News, Skunk Ape in Collier County?

Skunk Ape, Cousin of Bigfoot? 

skunk ape in Ochoppe
Dave Shealy has done the nearly-impossible.  Dave took these pictures of the illusive "skunk ape", cousin to our northwestern Big Foot. There were 27 pictures in all; apparently, only this one was released to the public.

Shealy, owner of the Big Cypress Trail Lakes Campground, runs the only Skunk Ape research center in Florida. He claims to have snapped the picture during an 8-month long tree-squatting vigil in his backyard.


This is not the first photo of the creature to come out of Collier County, however. Several months earlier, in late July of 1998, Ochopee Fire Chief Vince Doerr took his own photo of the creature. It was only upon the insistance of Dave Shealey that the picture was released to the public.

skunk ape in woods
Deep in the remotest areas of East of Marco Island, there may be a creature. A creature so fantastic that most will dismiss as lies. But can the words of hundreds of witnesses all go unheard? Can footprints in the mud all be faked or misidentified? Are the photos actually of a man in an ape suit? A man crazy enough to run around Florida's swamps, at the risk of getting shot by someone, just for a few laughs. These questions we must ask ourselves. And we should never fear believing in the unbelievable. In this article we will learn a little bit about the skunkape, S.W. Florida's bigfoot. So put your mosquito repellent on and your swamp slogging boots on and prepare to search for the mysterious creature that has haunted Florida's wilderness areas for years. 

Reports from eyewitnesses are varied. But the creature seems to fall into the category of Large, Scary, Ape-like Creature. The average size seems to be around 8 feet tall. Average weight is about 600 lbs. or so. The skunkape is usually covered in dark stringy hair. Black, brown and red are the most commonly reported hair colors. Long arms are typical as is less hair on the face. Glowing eyes are not uncommon.  Skunkapes are known for their terrible odor which has been described as that of a skunk, hence the name skunkape. These creatures for the most part have been reported as shy, but some attacks on humans have taken place. 

The Florida skunkape is not limited to, but often seen around the swampy areas of Collier County East of Marco Island.  Many of the sightings have been in the Ochoppe area which is 45 minutes East of Marco Island on Route 41 (as traveling to Miami). Florida has plenty of remote wilderness areas left to sustain skunkapes. Many different theories exist about where the skunkape hides. Some say in caves, under water holes, thickets, abondoned farms and buildings, cypress swamps, etc. One thing is for sure, they've been seen just about everywhere in the state. Other than skunkape, the creature has also been called bigfoot, the grunch, orange eyes, the thing, etc.

Roads that lead to the unknown. We may hike them, bike them, or if you're lucky, you may have a four wheel drive. The lonelier these roads are the stronger your senses become. Your eyesight sharpens, your hearing acute, even your sense of smell improves dramatically, (especially when there is a skunky odor in the air!). These roads to the unknown are in reality paths to the inner most part of your mind. An exploration of the senses accented by wild running imaginations. Ah, how wonderful are these roads!

Oh yes, of course, and while searching for the beast, watch your step! Your journey may be full of perils. Sometimes success is measured not by whether you see the creature, but by as much fun you had on the "hunt". {Please note that skunkapes are a protected species so you cant shoot them, plus I have been told that they don't taste so good} Keep an eye out for the alligators and snakes! 


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