Last Updated August 3, 2016 8/3/2016

The Skunk Ape Research Center in the Everglades is a Unique Florida Gem

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If you’ve ever wondered where Bigfoot’s distant relative, the Skunk Ape, has been hiding all these years – you might want to check the Florida Everglades.

Skunk Ape Headquarters
Credit: facebook.com
Skunk Ape Headquarters

According to Dave Shealy and his brother, who run the only Skunk Ape facility in the U.S., the elusive Skunk Ape has been spotted several times in the Sunshine State. However, this six to seven foot and extremely smelly mammal covered in reddish-black fur is particularly tough to spot.

Dave Shealy
Credit: facebook.com
Dave Shealy

Calling the Florida Everglades its home, the creature is said to be 4 toed, weighing up to 450 pounds. Its  distinct characteristic is its unpleasant smell. According to Shealy, who is often referred to as “the Jane Goodall of the Florida Everglades,” the Skunk Ape’s habit of hiding in alligator dens filled with swamp gas and rotting animal cadavers produces an awful aroma typically compared to that of rotten eggs or methane.

Skunk Ape
Credit: facebook.com
Skunk Ape

While Shealy believes the Skunk Ape typically sticks to the Everglades area, there have been sightings reported throughout the Sunshine State, as they are primarily a nomadic bunch.

Skunk Ape Headquarters
Credit: facebook.com
Skunk Ape Headquarters

Shealy created an extensive field guide and has been interviewed several times on television, having been featured on The Daily show and various TLC and Travel Channel programs, educating others on the Skunk Ape and its natural habitat of the Everglades.

Skunk Ape Headquarters
Credit: facebook.com
Skunk Ape Headquarters

He’s spent most of his life tirelessly researching and documenting the Skunk Ape’s existence and over time has discovered their habits and way of life.

Skunk Ape Headquarters
Credit: facebook.com
Skunk Ape Headquarters

According to Shealy, these wild creatures are omnivorous with a diet of both plants and meat, preferring to dine on birds, fish, deer, wild hog, and edible plants found in the Everglades. There has been no evidence of the Skunk Ape attacking a human, although Shealy reports that precautions are still necessary to maintain safety.

Skunk Ape Research Headquarters
Skunk Ape Research Headquarters

He opened a research facility in the small town of Ochopee to educate the public and welcome guests who are also interested in learning about the Skunk Ape. Visitors who want to see a rare glimpse of this magnificent creature can find Shealy’s personal photos and video of on a DVD sold at the facility.

Skunk Ape Research
Credit: facebook.com
Skunk Ape Research

The Skunk Ape Research Headquarters even holds an annual Everglades Skunk Ape Festival every June that includes a Miss Skunk Ape contest and “Skunktoberfest” in October.

In addition to Shealy’s research facility where you can browse Skunk Ape knick-knacks like coffee mugs and t-shirts at the gift shop, visitors can camp at nearby Trail Lakes Campground and also learn about the other wildlife found in the area, such as alligators and the Florida panther.

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