When we think of a Bigfoot type creature in Florida we often immediately think of the “Skunk Ape” of the Everglades. This is because many TV shows focus on that area and the man who has made a name for himself with Skunk Ape sightings, study and even a museum. Yet a skunk ape and a Bigfoot are two different creatures. The skunk ape of the Everglades is just that………an ape. It shows up in other swampy areas in the lower half of the state too, but it is a specific kind of animal. The Florida Bigfoot is not a skunk ape. They may share some characteristics but they are two separate species. The Bigfoot is much bigger, smarter, and much more of an omnivore than the skunk ape that eats mostly a vegetarian diet. Florida has both of these creatures and in the winter time the Bigfoot snowbirds come down from the Carolinas too, adding to the mix. So how do you tell the difference? Well here are some pointers that we can offer from our studies of sightings down through the years and personal experiences in the field.
- The Florida Bigfoot found in forested and swampy areas in Central and North Florida is huge. It tops out at 9 feet or so heavy it sometimes weighs up to 1000 pounds. It had longer, shaggy, unkempt hair that looks sort of like a cross between human hair and a husky type dog. The hair is dull, and varies in length on certain parts of their bodies, being shorter on the torso and longer on the head, arms, legs etc. It can be sparse and at times skin can be seen between the hair, especially if the creature suffers from skin problems as animals always do in tropical heat where insects and parasites are active. Color of coat varies, so they can be : black, brown, grey, silver, and most commonly reddish brown ,sort of like an Irish setter dog. They have features that seem to be a cross between an ape and a man with very sentient eyes.
- The skunk ape of the south, which also shows up occasionally in other places from time to time is shorter, much thinner, than and not quite as smart as the Bigfoot. They resemble more of a dark colored Orangutan or Chimp and make sounds like a monkey. They do not have the human like features of the Florida Bigfoot. They seldom venture into human traffic areas and seem to be most prevalent in the Everglades.
- Snow bird Bigfoots from up north: The creatures that come down here in the winter look very different than our home boy. They have short glossy black or dark brown hair that covers their entire body, sort of like the length of a Rottweiler dog. They are huge and massively built and have the features of a Gorilla type primate. They are more elusive but also more aggressive than the Florida Bigfoot. They tend to be hunters and seem to eat more prey food sources than anything else. They will kill and eat just about anything. In kill sites we have found deer, hogs, coyotes, and even alligators carcasses. Luckily most folks never sight these northern intruders, although it does happen.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER A FLORIDA BIGFOOT.
If you should be out in the woods and encounter a Florida Bigfoot, you can probably avoid any troubles by acting in the following manner. Stay calm, don't show any aggressive behavior, do not attempt to shoot it, if you have a gun, as he probably will not go down and will then be really pissed! The Florida Bigfoot has been shot by three different men on three different occasions that we know of personally, and did not seem to be very injured or affected at all. He just got mad!
The Bigfoot is not an aggressive creature and usually encounters start with a staring contest and end with him walking away into the forest. If you are in his territory he may throw rocks at you, if he feels threatened. Dogs usually will not even go near one of these creatures but some dogs, like some people are too brave for their own good. If you have a dog with you, do not let the dog charge at one of these creatures, they kill dogs like we swat a fly, and you do not want to lose your dog.
The Florida Bigfoot dislikes bright light so a flashlight may be enough to send him packing. If he does not walk away, then you should just lower your head a bit and walk away. He will see this as a sign that you do not want confrontation and ease his territorial concerns, which will keep him from reacting in a defensive manner. Screaming is a very bad idea, as in the family of the great apes, screaming is a gesture that usually precedes a charge of aggression. Smiling and showing your teeth may also be a bad idea as a display of teeth in the ape world is a sign of aggression as well. If the Bigfoot follows this same code of signals, and behavior patterns of the great apes, then screaming or smiling, may land you in big trouble.
The best thing to do if you do encounter any of these creatures is to not panic, and slowly walk away. ……………..
The Florida Bigfoot has access to many food sources in the Florida forests and wetlands. He can find choke cherries, pine nuts, grubs, taro, skunk cabbage and endless kinds of edible plants. He raids citrus and other fruit trees, and will steal just about a thousand or so other things that an omnivorous primate can consume. If you consider that the mountain Gorilla eats even stinging nettle stems, then it goes to show you just how versatile a great ape's diet can be. Bigfoot is also a great hunter who will catch and eat prey of all kinds from frogs and fish to large livestock. Now if the Bigfoot has similar habits to both people and great apes then he will stay well fed in the tropical state of Florida. Fresh water sources are also a big attraction to the Bigfoot and Florida has many of them. I will now turn you over to Laurie.