The Skunk Ape is a hominid cryptid said to inhabit the Southern United States, from places such as North Carolina and Arkansas, although reports from Florida are most common. It is named for its appearance and for the unpleasant odor that is said to accompany it. According to the United States National Park Service, the skunk ape exists only as a local myth. Reports of the Skunk ape were particularly common in the 1960s and 1970s. In the fall of 1974, numerous sightings were reported in suburban neighborhoods of Dade County, Florida, of a large, foul-smelling, hairy, ape-like creature, which ran upright on two legs.
In 2000, two photographs of an alleged ape, said to be the Skunk Ape, were taken anonymously and mailed to the Sarasota Sheriff’s Department in Florida. They were accompanied by a letter from a woman claiming to have photographed it on the edge of her backyard. The photographer claimed that on three different nights the ape had entered her yard to take apples from a bushel basket on her porch. She was convinced it was an escaped orangutan. The police were dispatched to the house numerous times but when they arrived the Skunk Ape, also known as the stink ape, was gone. The pictures have become known to Bigfoot enthusiasts as the “skunk ape photos”.
Loren Coleman is the primary researcher on the photographs, having helped track down the two photographs to an “Eckerd photo lab at the intersection of Fruitville and Tuttle Roads” in Sarasota County, Florida.